Who doesn’t like zucchini? The green squash with the crispy texture is healthy, low in calories, low in fat, but big in size and versatility. In fact, many foodies are discovering just how incredibly versatile zucchini can be for everything from pizzas to brownies. Curious about what you can do with zucchini other than adding them to salads? Here are 12 great ways to use zucchini in common recipes:
Zucchini Lasagna: Hate the high carb content of regular lasagna, but still can’t pass up its delectable taste? You can easily swap those carb-filled noodles with zucchini noodles. Choose whatever you want in your lasagna—low-fat cheese, meat, vegetables—and cook them up first with some garlic, oregano and olive oil. Add in some crushed tomatoes and cook it until the meat is done and the vegetables are sautéed. Layer a baking dish with the sauce mixture and then begin layering wide slices of zucchini as if you were using lasagna noodles. Alternate between your mixture and the zucchini. Place it all in an oven after topping it off with some shredded Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese. Cover it up and bake on 350 degrees for a half hour. Remove the foil and then bake it for about fifteen more minutes.
Zucchini Spaghetti: Another take on an Italian classic, zucchini spaghetti provides the same great taste but with a significantly lower amount of calories and carbohydrates. If you have a spiralizer, making zucchini spaghetti is easy, but if you don’t, you can use a peeler to create a spaghetti-like shape. You have two options—you can eat the zucchini raw with your dressing of choice and anything else you fancy with it or you can cook it up a bit in a pan and then add everything else to it. Either way, it is going to be great!
Zucchini Pizza Boats: Your Italian meal will be complete with these zucchini-inspired pizzas. Use a thick zucchini and slice it in half lengthwise and then spoon out the inside pulp and seeds. Pour some tomato sauce into the bottom of each half and then top it with whatever you want—turkey sausage, ground beef, turkey bacon, vegetables. You can then add garlic, oregano, basil or whatever spices you like on your pizza. Bake them in the oven on 400 degrees for 20-25. Nom-worthy and deliciously healthy!
Zucchini Chips: Rather than finishing a bag of greasy, fried potato chips, you can make a batch of much healthier zucchini chips. Take your zucchini and slice it up into thin slices (a mandoline would work great here). Spread them out on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and spray them with a healthy cooking spray and then sprinkle them with whatever spices you prefer. Bake them for 90 minutes in the oven at 230 degrees (or you can dehydrate them if you own a dehydrator), but check them after one hour and every ten minutes. Eat them sooner rather than later since they tend to lose their crunchiness. Check out more of our favorite fresh vegetable chips!
Baked Zucchini Sticks: Throw out those fattening, fried mozzarella sticks and enjoy these healthier alternatives. All you need are eggs, zucchini, whole wheat flour, Panko crumbs and spices of your choice. Cut your zucchini into small strips while your oven heats up to 400 degrees and then set them aside on a paper towel and sprinkle with some salt (this will get some of the moisture out). Combine ½ cup of whole wheat flour with one cup of Panko crumbs as well as the spices you decide to use (or not). In a separate bowl, combine one egg and two egg whites and whip them up. Have a pre-greased baking sheet ready for the zucchini strips that you will now coat in the egg mixture first and then the flour/crumb/spice mixture. Be sure they are well coated and then place them on your sheet. Bake them for twenty minutes and then turn them over and bake them for another 15-20 minutes until they are slightly browned.
Zucchini Fritters: Sort of like a pancake, but not quite, these fritters are bound to be your new favorite side dish. Combine four eggs with half a cup of a nut flour (almond is a good choice) and some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Grate your zucchini so you get about three cups worth. Squeeze as much water as you can out of it by wringing it with a paper towel and patting it dry and letting it sit a few minutes. Add it to your egg mixture. Heat up a skillet to medium heat and place a tablespoon size of the batter into the pan. Flip it over after the bottom is cooked and brown. You can make them whatever size you desire.
Zucchini Pancakes: Yes, you can have zucchini for breakfast. Grate two cups worth of zucchini and squeeze out the excess water. Combine it with four eggs, two teaspoons of vanilla, six tablespoons of coconut oil, two cups of milk (your choice of which type) and two tablespoons of brown sugar. In a separate bowl, mix 1½ teaspoons of salt, two tablespoons of baking powder and three cups of whole wheat flour. Add the wet mixture to the dry one and stir without over mixing it. Heat up a skillet or pan using coconut oil and drop some of the batter onto the heated pan. When the bottom is fully cooked, flip it over and cook the other side. Again, make them any size you want. You can always freeze leftovers to enjoy later. (photo credit)
Zucchini Hummus: Looking for a new spin on a classic veggie dip? Zucchini hummus is what you want. Peel and dice four medium-sized zucchinis and puree it along with one cup of tahini, 1/3 cup of olive oil, four garlic cloves, one teaspoon each of sea salt and dried parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Voila - instant, delicious hummus.
Zucchini Brownies: Dessert takes on a whole new meaning with the addition of zucchini. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking pan. Combine one cup of whole wheat flour, one cup of raw sugar or any sugar of your choice (you can sub with stevia for baking), 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and salt. Now take one small zucchini and run it through a food processor until it is pureed. Add in 1/2 cup of olive or coconut oil and one teaspoon of vanilla extract and puree it again. Take your zucchini mixture and mix it into your mixed dry ingredients until you get a thick batter. Stir in a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Bake for fifteen minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool for a few minutes before you slice them up and devour them.
Paleo Zucchini Brownies: If you're a follower of the Paleo lifestyle, this recipe is best suited for you as it has all the Paleo-approved ingredients in it to create delicious brownies. Either in a bowl or a food processor, combine eight eggs, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/2 cup of butter (melted), 1/2 cup of raw cacao and one teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Once it is well mixed, add in 1/3 cup of coconut flour and two cups of grated zucchini. Run it once more through the processor to fully blend. Pour the whole thing into a pre-greased pan and bake for a half hour on 350 degrees.
Zucchini Muffins: These are not your typical coffee shop muffins. This recipe makes a delicious grab and go snack that is easy to make and healthy to eat. In a large bowl, combine a dozen large zucchinis (shredded), four ounces of your cheese of choice, two eggs, three tablespoons of chopped onions, 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper. Mix everything together by hand. Pour the batter into a pre-greased muffin tin and spoon the batter into each one. Cook on 375 degrees for roughly 25 minutes or until they are golden. This recipe makes a dozen large muffins or two dozen small ones.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins: You had the savory type, now enjoy the sweet type of zucchini muffins. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and pre-grease a muffin tin. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1½ cups of your sugar of choice, two teaspoons of vanilla, one egg and 1/2 cup of milk of your choice. Next, add in two cups of shredded zucchini. In a different bowl, combine 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1½ teaspoons of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the cocoa powder mixture to the wet mixture and combine well. Pour the batter into each of the twelve muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are done.
What can’t you make with zucchini? Judging by these delicious recipes, you can make anything you want. Not only are they easy to make, but they are a super healthy way to enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods.