When it comes to produce in the summer, nothing produces quite like zucchini. There will come a point where all gardeners try to give away the overabundance of zucchini and can’t. But, when offered zucchini, always take it! There are nutritional benefits that abound.
This low-calorie (1 cup = 17 calories) includes a high-fiber content, making it a great ‘filler’ for those who watch their carbohydrate (3 g CHO, with 1 g sugar & 1 g fiber, making a true CHO of 2 g/cup) intake, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Why You Want To Eat More Zucchini
High in antioxidants (cancer fighting)
Carotenoids are plentiful (benefits your eyes, skin and heart, offering protection against certain types of cancer, such as prostate)
Soluble & insoluble fiber, which means it’s good for digestion.
Soluble fiber has beneficial bacteria
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools, helping you move food through your digestive system with ease.
Short chain fatty acids (SFCAs)
SCFAs help reduce inflammation, which benefits gut issues (i.e. irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis)
Reduces blood sugar levels
The fiber helps stabilize blood sugars by helping to increase insulin sensitivity
Includes potassium, which is shown to reduce high blood pressure
Vitamin C + Betacarotene improves vision
Lutein & Zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina, improving vision and reducing risk of eye-related diseases.
The high H20 + low calorie = more filling
How to Add Zucchini to Your Meals
Dice and add to salads (raw)
Stew with other summer fruits and veggies to make Ratatouille
Stuff oversized zucchini with rice, lentils & favorite veggies or ground turkey, tomato sauce and cheese. Bake @ 350 F until desired tenderness
Stir fry in olive oil, salt, pepper & turmeric (adds an anti-inflammation benefit, add makes it a brilliant yellow)
Spiral cut with a noodler and stir fry (like above) as a noodle replacement
Bake into breads, pancakes, muffins. Use almond flour to lower carbohydrates and to increase the protein content.
Boil or stir fry, then blend into puree and add to soups and stews. This can thicken soups.
Grate, drain and squeeze out excess, and freeze for winter time zucchini crust (recipe follows)
Dice and dehydrate. I store mine in quart-size food-saver bags in the freezer. Throughout the winter, I can add the zucchini to stir-fries and soups.
Recipe for Zucchini Flatbread
I will provide you with a list of ingredients, but please promise me that you will experiment and make this your own recipe. The fact is, it’s not so much following the recipe that counts, but finding two things: 1) the correct consistency of the dough, which is slightly wet, but not sopping and slipping through your fingers; and 2) the correct flavor for your preferences.
2-3 Zucchini for an 8x8 pan.
½ cup almond flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated or from the shaky can
Italian seasonings, if you would like a little pizza flare
Grate the zucchini and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. I lightly salt the greeted zucchini and let it drip in a colander. Then I use a cheese cloth (or an old, but clean kitchen towel - not the terrycloth kind). Place the grated zucchini in the middle of the towel, bring the four corners together, the twist the towel to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. If time is an issue, add ground flax seed to soak up the water, and then skip the egg.
Add the rest of the ingredients, and add a few more if you want. We’ve added mozzarella, pepperoni, basil, and topped it with tomatoes, after it’s been pressed into the pan.
About the pan, line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet first. Bake in an oven at 375 F until the top is golden brown. It’s usually around 30 minutes, but it depends on how thick your zucchini flatbread is and how much moisture needed to cook off..
This recipe will either free you and create an experiment in the kitchen, or it will frustrate you to no end because there are no clear directions. Either way, you will learn a great deal about yourself and the zucchini flatbread, which also makes a great gluten-free, vegetable-rich pizza crust.