When I was a kid, the only squash I knew about was the yellow squash my Dad would pan fry with potato and onions. I don’t recall him ever making zucchini and since my cooking style mirrored his, I didn’t raise my daughters with zucchini in my house either. Frankly I’m not sure when I was first introduced to the bland but healthy and versatile goodness of zucchini. But since that time I’ve enjoyed it in many different ways.
ZOLL-UPS (ZUCCHINI ROLL-UPS)
I’ve only recently starting making these roll-ups. I’d been putting off trying them because the last time I used a mandolin, I sliced off a nice little chunk of my thumb. 😦 This time I used my special slice-proof gloves and sliced the zucchini with the mandolin into long, wide, strips, then sautéed them for a few minutes on low heat to soften them enough to roll. For the filling I layered roasted red pepper hummus, shredded carrots, minced garlic, chopped spinach and red bell peppers seasoned with paprika, garlic salt, black pepper and Jamaican-style cumin and rooollllled it all up!
ZOODLES (ZUCCHINI NOODLES)
Zucchini noodles were the reason I actually started using the manual spiralizer resting in my cupboard for nearly a year. (Sometimes my inspirations get delayed) But once I started making zoodles I was hooked. I think the last time I made traditional spaghetti for myself was about seven years ago because it felt so heavy in my belly. So zucchini noodles are a perfect stand-in. You can top them with heated marinara sauce, traditional spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce if that’s your thing. Or you can enjoy zoodles my favorite way – in salads with spinach, tomatoes, onions, peps, croutons, avocado, minced garlic, black pepper, garlic salt and rice vinegar.
ZANDALAS (ZUCCHINI MANDALAS)
I’ve made meals of these! They look like mini mandalas to me with their circular shapes, hence my nickname for them: zandalas. 🙂 One of the best things about zucchini is how well they adapt to whatever flavor you sprinkle or pour on them. They’re a great raw addition to salads and smoothies or as a spaghetti substitute; or sautéed like I did them here, and then seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper.
These are merely a few ways that I like to enjoy zucchini. There’s zucchini chips, zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, zucchini fries. You can have them baked, sautéed, shredded, sliced, spiraled or blended in a smoothie. And nutrition-wise, you can’t go wrong with their low-fat, low-calorie, low-sodium and high potassium profile.
Haven’t tried them? Why not?