4 Recipes for Peak Summertime Zucchini

Sunrise Senior Living  |  August 24, 2016
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There are dozens of healthy and delicious ways to incorporate zucchini into your diet. Here are four.

Summer is the best time to grab the freshest, most delicious zucchini. There are dozens of great ways to incorporate this green squash into your meals. Try one of these four recipes before its peak season comes to a close!

1. Orzo Salad with Zucchini and Feta
This simple and scrumptious plate from Real Simple magazine makes the perfect side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces orzo
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 small zucchinis – sliced, then cut in half
  • 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill

Directions:

First, boil water and cook the orzo according to the box's specific directions. Then, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Using a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, red pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add sliced zucchini and let marinate for 20 minutes – tossing occasionally. Then, right before serving, add the orzo, feta and dill, tossing to combine. Enjoy!

2. Pizza with Zucchini
Who doesn't love pizza? For an interesting take on the favorite classic dish, add zucchini and grill it up with this recipe from Good Housekeeping magazine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini – sliced
  • 1 clove garlic – diced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lb. fresh pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves

Directions:

First, prepare your outdoor grill on medium-high heating setting.

Then, toss zucchini, garlic, oil, oregano, red pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Place zucchini slices on the grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate and set aside, then adjust the grill heat to medium-low.

In the meantime, divide pizza dough into 4 balls and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer one ball at a time to a large cookie sheet. Stretch dough until it forms a 1/4-inch thickness circle. Repeat process to remaining dough balls.

Once you've formed your pizza shapes, transfer the dough carefully onto the grill. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough balls puff up and easily release from the hot grill, then turn them over. Now you're ready to prepare your pizzas.

Divide your ricotta and Gruyère cheese evenly among the crusts. Top with the marinated zucchini, Parmesan and basil. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

3. Charred Squash Salad
For a lighter dish, try this salad recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine.

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound squash – halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound zucchini – halved lengthwise
  • 1 large Vidalia onion – halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup torn mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves

Directions:

First, set your grill to high heat and prepare with non-stick cooking spray.

Sprinkle cut sides of squash and zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and then place them and the onion on the grill. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then rotate, cover and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Flip vegetables completely over, then cook for 2 minutes. Remove squash and zucchini from grill and continue to cook onion for 4 minutes. Once the time is up, remove and let all vegetables cool to room temperature.

When your vegetables are cool to touch, coarsely chop them up and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, oil and juice, and then toss to coat. Finish with basil, mint, parsley, and voila! A fresh, delicious take on a summer salad.

4. Healthy Zucchini Bread
Have you ever considered turning your zucchini into a treat? This recipe from Food Network shows you how to make healthy yet satisfying sweet bread for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp. no-sugar added apple butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Directions:

First, heat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Then, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven to toast for 7 minutes. Let cool, and then roughly chop.

Grate zucchini into a bowl and squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to gradually beat the sugar, oil, apple butter, vanilla and eggs together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Then, fold in the grated zucchini and walnut chunks and pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Place bread in the oven and cook for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then flip bread out and cool completely. Cut into 24 slices and enjoy immediately or save for later!