Even though summer might seem so far away, that doesn’t stop us from dreaming, planning, and looking for amazing recipes. One of the plants that must find its place on your tables this summer, be it as a light dinner, an appetizer, or incorporated in a dessert, is the nutrient-packed zucchini. The fact that they are inexpensive is all the more reason to stack up on zucchinis and give one of our delicious zucchini recipes a try. But first…
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Three Fun Facts About Zucchinis That Will Make You Love Them Even More
- Zucchinis are fruits
No matter how strange it might sound, botanically, zucchinis are actually fruits. Zucchini belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo along with squashes and pumpkins. A botanical berry called a “pepo” is the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower, which means zucchini is a fruit. Uh-oh, it’s going to be confusing next time someone suggests eating more veggies than fruits 🙂 .
- The longest zucchini measures 8 ft. 3.3 in
Believe it or not, the longest zucchini was astonishing 2.52 m (8 ft 3.3 in) long. It was grown by Giovanni Batista Scozzafava in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada on 28 August 2014, and has remained the longest zucchini to this very day.
- The word zucchini comes from Italian
The plant’s name comes from Italian: zucchina, the diminutive of zucca, which translates as “gourd, marrow, pumpkin, squash”. In fact, the zucchini varieties we know and cook with today were developed in northern Italy in the second half of the 19th century.
The Best Recipe for Zucchini Casseroles
As you probably already know a casserole is not one specific recipe, rather it refers to literally anything that can be made in a casserole pan. This means that much like the lasagna and the moussaka, a recipe which calls for zucchinis to be baked in a casserole pan will naturally be called a zucchini casserole.
We’ve decided, however, to include gratins in this category as well. Although they are not to be confused with casseroles, these two do have several unifying features. Au gratin literally means “with cheese” and it is a technique which includes topping an ingredient with a browned crust. The crust can be made using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, eggs or butter. Sounds familiar? One last thing that makes dishes prepared with these two culinary techniques very similar, is they are traditionally served in the baking / casserole dish. So, to sum up, all gratins are casseroles, but only casseroles that contain cheese can be called gratins.
1# Italian Zucchini Casserole
Since zucchinis as we know them come from Italy, and the very word for them is Italian, why not try and prepare this Italian Zucchini Casserole? If you love Italian sausage, then these zucchini boats topped with mozzarella will be just up your alley. Eat them as they are or use them to top your favorite pasta. Either way, you are in for a treat!
2# Chicken Zucchini Gratin
If you are looking for a summer lunch recipe, this is it! The yellow squash and zucchini complement the chicken’s taste and everything comes together in the most colorful, eclectic dish ever!
3# Veggie Gratin
If you are looking for a vegetarian version of this delicious dish, then prepare the veggie gratin. It can easily be a main course, since asparagus, broccoli, and zucchini all come together to form the most satiating bite ever. And the best part? This recipe is the chameleon of zucchini recipes, so you can easily serve it for lunch, brunch, or as a side dish for chicken or fish.
Recipes for Zucchini Bread with and Without Yeast
If you thought that the delicious banana bread and the amazing apple bread were the only shortbreads out there, you were very wrong. Zucchini bread is equally as tasty as its apple and banana cousins :). And here are 4 recipes to prove it! As a general rule when it comes to preparing zucchini bread recipes, make sure you choose the smaller zucchinis. Their skins are tenderer and they contain fewer seeds.
4# Chocolate Zucchini Bread (no yeast)
Once you try this luscious zucchini bread, it will become your go-to recipe whenever you need a snack or a dessert that combines good nutrition and wonderful flavors. But because the fact that it contains chocolate might discourage you from giving this zucchini recipe a try, we have decided to share the nutritional information per slice: calories 239, fat 14.6g (sat fat 2.6g), carbs 27g. Not that bad for a delicious dessert, right :)?
5# Lemon Zucchini Bread (no yeast)
Prepare this lemon zucchini bread and bring it to neighborhood potlucks and picnics. Wrap the loaves in brown paper and rafﬁa and be prepared for sighs of amazement followed by requests for the recipe.
Since you will need 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest, (do note that the white pith is not considered the zest, only the colored portion of the peel is) the best way to get it is using a citrus zester, or vegetable peeler to scrape all across the surface of the lemon.
6# Zucchini Yogurt Bread
Now, on to the easier and less time-consuming zucchini bread recipes. You will only need an hour to prepare this delicious bread that contains zucchini and oregano. To make it even more traditional, using a sharp knife score the top of each loaf at an angle several times. The important thing is to let the loaves rise uncovered for around half an hour, bake it and enjoy!
Extra! You can prepare a scrumptious spread to accompany this zucchini bread. Go ahead and mash a cup of feta cheese, ⅔ cup of sour cream, half an onion (finely chopped), 2 tablespoons of fresh chives (snipped) and finally, a ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.
7# Pesto & Zucchini Bread
Once you try this focaccia-like bread kneaded with Italian pesto and topped with grilled zucchini slices you will be transferred somewhere on the streets of Italy. And that’s not even the best part, you will only need an hour to prepare it, start to finish, and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy a tasty slice of heaven.
Extra! You can make the bread crunchier and way more delicious by adding some pine nuts (2 ounces to be more precise). To stop them from over-browning, soak them in a small bowl of water for around 20 minutes.
Recipes for Zucchini Appetizers
Whether you are having a casual get-together for friends and family or a party for colleagues, everyone will appreciate a healthier twist on their favorite appetizers. Check out our choices and see if you can find something you like.
8# Zucchini & Ricotta Crostini
The popular bruschetta appetizers can come in a healthier, and way more delicious package: the zucchini & ricotta crostini. The best part is there are three cheese types in this zucchini recipe. Chop 2 large zucchinis and 3 tomatoes and place them over the ricotta cheese, only then add the grated Parmesan and the provolone slices. Yummy!
9# Crispy Zucchini Sticks
If you need a healthier take on French fries, then try these zucchini sticks. Seasoned bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt, make these the tastiest, most flavorful fries you’ve ever tried.
10# Zucchini Parmesan Stacks
The perfect summer appetizer! Made with zucchinis, tomatoes, and eggs, these sandwich-like stacks scream summer and the Parmesan makes them all the more palatable. Prepare them and watch them disappear next time you are throwing a party in your backyard.
Recipes for Zucchini Side Dishes
We can all agree that in order for the main dish to shine, the side dish that accompanies it must be great as well. For that reason, here are zucchini recipes for the best and most versatile side dishes ever!
11# Potato-Zucchini Bake
Need a unique side dish filled with flavor to complement your baked ham, grilled steaks, or roast chicken? This potato-zucchini bake enriched with lemon juice, onion, chives, and Cheddar is the perfect way to go about. The best part is this side dish could easily become a main dish by simply adding 3 cooked and sliced chicken breasts to the zucchini mixture.
Nutritional info per serving: calories 354, fat 17.5g (sat fat 7.8g), carbs 34.9g
12# Zucchini Pasta Bake
This vegetarian side dish made with the cutest bow-tie pasta, tomato, zucchini, and fresh basil is the prettiest, most colorful and flavorful side dish you could serve. Make sure the zucchini is slightly firm before you add it to the pasta, in order for the zucchini not to overcook in the oven. No one wants a mushy dish, right? 🙂
Nutritional info per serving: calories 448, fat 16.7g (sat fat 6g), carbs 56.6g
Recipes for Zucchini Ratatouille
Even if you haven’t heard of this dish before, the name itself sounds very French, and that’s because it is French. In fact, if you love animated movies, you probably remember the American computer-animated comedy film Ratatouille released in 2007. Well, at the end of the film they serve ratatouille, a stew of summer fruits and veggies (zucchini being the star of the recipe) prepared in olive oil and cooked over low heat.
13# Grandma’s Ratatouille
The beauty of this dish lies in the fact that you can literally use whatever it is you find in your veggie drawer. If you want a meaty consistency, go ahead and add mushrooms, and if you want this side dish to become a main dish, layer slices of bacon on top.
14# Chicken Ratatouille
This chicken ratatouille can easily become your new favorite summer dinner. The chicken combined with all the ﬂavors of the Mediterranean have SUMMER written all over.
15# Garden Ratatouille
Less is more is definitely not the axiom you want to go by when preparing this recipe. Feel free to add as many different veggies as you can possibly think of. Anything from red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, eggplant and of course, zucchini can make their way into this rainbow-y dish.
Serve this ratatouille with sourdough rolls and grilled chicken, or to turn it into a main dish add or slices of cooked kielbasa sausage or cubes of ham during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
DISCOVER GREAT RECIPES, TIPS & IDEAS!
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