One of my favorite things to plant in my garden is zucchini.
It is one thing that is guaranteed to produce no matter how bad everything else in the garden is doing.
This year we had a few things not come up so a few weeks after planting my original garden I planted a few more zucchini to fill up some empty spaces. Well, fill up it did.
I am now overflowing with zucchini and have been trying to figure out how to use all that I have.
Zucchini is going in everything.
In case you are in the same overflowing zucchini boat I thought I would share a few different ways you can use it. And because I have a child in my house who thinks they don’t like zucchini, many of these recipes hid the ingredient so well people won’t even guess it is in there!
Fun fact: Did you know that botanically zucchini is actually a fruit even though we use and generally consider it a vegetable? It turns out tomatoes aren’t the only tricky ones out there.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ZUCCHINI
In addition to being incredibly easy to grow, zucchini has a number of health benefits as well!
First of all, zucchini contains zero fat, and is high in water and fiber. It also contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals including B6, riboflavin, folate, C, and K, potassium and manganese.
Due to it’s high water content and fiber zucchini is great in aiding with digestion and can reduce constipation and other digestive issues. When eaten regularly it has also been known to help prevent IBS, ulcers and colon cancer.
Zucchini is full of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which help to repair cell damage and prevent cancer and the risk of heart disease.
Other great benefits gained from eating zucchini include lower blood sugar levels, health circulation, a healthy heart, improves eye health, boosts energy and aids in weight loss.
10+ WAYS TO USE ZUCCHINI
I like to make my own pasta sauce from scratch (recipe coming soon!) and since my tomatoes are usually ready at the same time as my zucchini I will often through a large amount of zucchini in as well. It helps take my pasta sauce from a “tomato sauce” to a “vegetable sauce”.
Some types of soup are great at accepting zucchini. My personal favorite is adding diced zucchini to minestrone soup but this Zucchini Corn Chowder sounds amazing and I would like to try a dairy-free version of it really soon.
I love being able to add zucchini to sweet dishes like fruit crisp, my personal favorite is to mix it with strawberries and rhubarb in a crisp – you don’t even notice that it is in there!
What can’t you hide in chili?! I’ve taken to making a lentil version instead of a beef version this year and my body has been loving the switch, but no matter what my “meat” base is in the fall I like to add some small diced zucchini to the recipe.
MUFFINS AND CAKE
I don’t know if this are a thing everywhere but zucchini cake and muffins are really common where I live. Oddly, it’s not something my mom ever made but I remember my friends always having them for lunches back in school (oh the things we remember!). I love biting into a chocolate cake knowing I’ve made it a bit healthier by having some zucchini in there.
I’ve kind of been obsessed with all things spiralized for the last number of years, so of course I’m adding that to the list. You can have the zoodles cold or you can use them as a pasta replacement, maybe even have them with your pasta sauce that you added zucchini to!