Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables around. It's delicious in almost any setting, whether it's fried, baked, or sauteed. It can even be used as a noodle substitute or snuck into a batch of chocolate cupcakes to give dessert a healthy boost. Read on to learn how to cook zucchini for perfect summery dinners and more.
Zucchini, a type of summer squash, is easy to grow in home gardens, which can often lead to an overabundance of this tasty veggie. Luckily, zucchini can be used in countless ways, and is a delicious addition to almost any meal. As a bonus, zucchini is low in calories and high in vitamin C -- plus it packs a healthy dose of potassium. Zucchini can be found in green, yellow, and striped varieties.
Fried zucchini is delicious and (surprise!) still healthy, and oven-fried zucchini is super simple to prepare. All you need to do is slice your zucchini, toss it in a drizzle of salad dressing, and roll it in a mixture of bread crumbs, paprika, and Parmesan cheese. Then just bake your zucchini slices for 9 to 11 minutes and enjoy. Get more ideas for oven-frying vegetables here.
Grilled zucchini recipes are a piece of cake. Slice the zucchini lengthwise, so each long plank is about 1/4-inch thick. Then arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. For a charcoal grill, grill the zucchini directly over medium coals until tender (about 8 minutes), turning once. For a gas grill, preheat the grill, then reduce the heat. Place the zucchini slices on the grill rack over heat, then cover and grill as directed.
Sauteed zucchini is tasty on its own, but it's also a great topper. Using a mandolin (or a very sharp knife), thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise. Place the zucchini slices in a colander and sprinkle them with salt, then let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Slightly brown the zucchini on both sides -- this should take about 5 minutes. Make sure not to put too much zucchini in the skillet at one time, or the slices won't cook evenly.
Baby zucchini can be roasted whole, but anything larger should be cut into slices or sticks. Line a 13X9-inch roasting pan or large baking pan with foil and spread the zucchini out in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd. Combine olive oil with lemon juice, salt, and ground black pepper, and drizzle this mixture over zucchini. Then roast for about 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees F. Also try baking your zucchini stuffed with mushrooms, onions, and breadcrumbs (pictured).
Broiled zucchini is a yummy and healthy alternative to regular potato chips. Cut the zucchini into slices, each about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Arrange the zucchini slices in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan, then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Broil the zucchini 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender.
Zucchini can be a great addition to cakes and cupcakes -- it keeps them moist while adding a healthy serving of vegetables to your sweet indulgences. And who doesn't love home-baked zucchini bread? In most baked goods, the recipe calls for shredded zucchini. Use the coarse side of a box grater to shred zucchini for desserts and breads.