In terms of versatility and use in healthy eating plans, the humble zucchini is one of the mightiest types of squash out there. This extremely low-calorie vegetable isn’t just rich in vitamins and minerals (such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, fibre, calcium, sodium, zinc, iron, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin K, but it’s also delicious and can be enjoyed in many ways, making it all the easier to get its goodness in. It can range in colour from yellow to deep green, and is a great part of many healthy diets, supporting everything from weight management or weight loss to digestion, skin health, and strong bones and teeth, to heart health, eye health, ageing, and even asthma.
How do you use it?
If you’ve lived in the Middle East for any amount of time, you’re likely to have come across one of the most delicious ways of using zucchini: Through cooking Kousa Mahshi, where the squash is cored and then stuffed with meats, rice, and so on, before being cooked or stewed in a delicious sauce. Zucchini plays a pretty solid part in Middle Eastern cuisine, but if you’re trying to be creative, why not try recreating some classics with a zucchini spin on it instead, such as a baba ghanoush made with these green health giants instead? Beyond the region, zucchini has made waves globally as a key ingredient for healthy cooking in recent years, thanks to its extreme versatility: Not only can it be spiralized into low-calorie, grain- and gluten-free vegetable noodles (that are tasty eaten hot or cold), but it can also be made into gratin, fritters or patties, tossed into salads, pasta, and stir-fries, and baked, stuffed, fried, grilled – you name it, you can probably do it. Cover them with breadcrumbs and bake them into healthy vegetable chips, or grate and blend them into baked goods, from breads to cakes and even sweet treats. It also makes for a delicious thinly-sliced pizza topping, pie ingredient, lasagne noodle alternative, and can be blended into waffle and pancake mixes. Get creative – and share your ideas with us, we’d love to see them!
Also known as courgette, this summer squash has been around for centuries, and you can actually eat the blossoms that grow on their ends as well – they’re considered to be a delicacy! The singular form of zucchini is “one zucchina” – although you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone mentioning or using them as such, since it’s hard to stick to just one. We can thank Christopher Columbus for helping to spread the joy of zucchini all over the world, since he’s the one who was said to have originally brought the plant’s seeds to the Mediterranean region and Africa.