It’s mid Summer, high Zucchini season, and store prices are falling as the abundance of Zucchini and other summer squashes are filling up the produce bins all over the country. But Wow! who knew that this humble green squash that can grow in any garden, in almost any climate, would be so packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and a list of health benefits as long as your arm. Here is just a very partial list of what scientists and nutritionists say Zucchini can do for you:
- Improves digestion. …
- Slows down aging. …
- Lowers blood sugar levels. …
- Supports healthy circulation and a healthy heart. …
- Improves eye health. …
- Boosts energy. …
- Weight loss. …
- Improves thyroid and adrenal functions…
A medium size Zucchini has just over 30 calories and though it has a slightly sweet taste, it is very low in sugars, and has almost no fats. Because of it’s tastyness and economical versatility — you can eat the insides, the skin, even the flowers — it has been cultivated somewhere on planet earth for at least 10,000 years.
Zucchini packs a big punch when it comes to food value: It’s a huge provider of antioxidants and phytonutrients and it’s one of the most intense sources of Vitamin C you can get your hands on (a whopping 56% of USDA daily requirement met by one medium squash). It’s also high in Vitamin B and has plenty of fiber.
Zucchini was once proposed as a primary crop to plant around the world as a remedy for world hunger — because it’s very prolific, it grows anywhere without special care and provides tremendous nutrition. And right now, during the summer months in this country, it could hardly be cheaper or more available. So it’s time to get cooking with some popular Zucchini recipes, such as the all time favorite: Zucchini Bread.
Here is a great Zucchini Bread recipe from one of my favorite online cooks: Vaishali Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes. I am reprinting her whole recipe below because Vaishali gives so much good advice, including how to ‘ditch the dairy’ and replace with vegan ingredients and how to make this recipe — already a kid favorite — even more kid friendly.
I actually made both a loaf and muffins from this recipe (see pics below) and they were great. Here is a link to Vaishali Holy Cow! Vegan Zucchini Bread:
11 ingredients for vegan Zucchini Bread:
- Whole wheat pastry flour. I have always made this recipe with whole wheat pastry flour, which makes healthy baking super easy and super fun. But if you wish, you can certainly use part regular whole wheat flour and part unbleached all purpose flour, or just all purpose flour is good too.
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Cinnamon. I add cinnamon to my zucchini bread, and sometimes a mix of cinnamon and cloves. You can also add nutmeg or even ginger.
- Zucchini. You need 2 1/2 cups of grated zucchini for this recipe (about 2 medium zucchini)
- Sugar. I use coconut sugar because I love its deep, rich flavor, especially in recipes like zucchini bread and banana bread. But you can use any sugar for great results, including white sugar, turbinado sugar, cane sugar or even maple syrup.
- Applesauce. You can substitute with an equal quantity of pureed banana.
- Vegetable oil
- Pure vanilla extract
How to make a healthy, tasty and vegan Zucchini Bread:
- This is an extremely easy recipe to make and you don’t really need any special equipment like a hand mixer or stand mixer. You do need two loaf pans, but if you don’t have them, you can also bake these in cake tins. Or bake them up into muffins. If you are making zucchini muffins with this recipe, cut down baking time to between 25 and 30 minutes and check with a toothpick to make sure they’re done.
- Chocolate chips are a fun addition, especially if you have a young ‘un who likes chocolate. You can substitute the walnuts with 1 cup chocolate chips.
- You can make this recipe in one bowl by mixing up your wet ingredients first, then throwing in your dry ingredients one by one and then the zucchini and nuts.
- Use the large holes in your grater to grate the zucchini. When you mix up the batter it will seem a bit thick, but don’t worry. The zucchini is full of water that will express itself during baking and your loaves will be moist and tender and not dry at all.
- Make sure to grease and flour your loaf pans for easy unmolding.
- Cool your loaves thoroughly on a rack before slicing and eating.
I can testify that this recipe works well. I used plain old whole wheat flour and maybe a bit more grated Zucchini that she recommended (because I had it). I didn’t have any coconut sugar that Vaishali says she uses, but that sounds so good I am going to get some and use it next time.
What else can you do with Zucchini? For one thing, it grills better than any vegetable out there and saute’s wonderfully on the stove with a little oil, as sliced up medallions or you can join the trend and get a spiralizer. You can also stuff Zucchini, put it in soups, and it is a match made in heaven when it comes to throwing it in with just about any pasta. Or, use the spiralizer and make Zucchini into it’s own pasta, then saute, steam or bake it with any other veggie you like.
The possibilities are endless with Zucchini — who knows, maybe you can come up with your own brand new recipe or a variation of an old one. Drop me a line and let me know what you come up with or if you have questions or comments.