As temperatures soar, you’ll notice gardens, produce aisles and farmer’s markets teeming with different colors and types of a summer essential: zucchini. From zoodles to baked chips and zucchini bread, this versatile veggie is living its best life. And it’s worthy of all the attention it’s been getting: the summer squash is a nutrient powerhouse and is easy to prep and cook in various ways.
Countless Nutritional Benefits
Zucchini consists of about 95% water, so it can help you stay hydrated in the summer heat, especially when it’s eaten fresh.
It also has a low–carb content: one cup of zucchini contains about four grams of carbs, while one cup of spaghetti contains about 43 grams.
On the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants front, zucchini is a great source of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, helps collagen production, and is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from environmental toxins.
It is also packed with fiber—which supports heart health and digestive regularity, potassium—which balances and regulates fluid in the body and maintains a healthy blood pressure, and manganese—which aids digestion, and bone and immune health.
And, last but not least, vitamin B2, B6, and folate support everything in our bodies from energy production to brain health and detoxification. Getting enough Bs in your diet is critical to optimal health.
Cooking This Versatile Veggie
In addition to eating zucchini raw (and dipping it in hummus), here are some of the ways our nutritionists and chefs like to cook this veggie:
Pasta: Cut down on your meal’s carb content, while bumping up its nutritional offerings. Zoodles or julienne-cut zucchini—likely available at your local grocery store—can be used in your favorite pasta recipes, like pasta salad or lasagna.
Grilled: Marinade the veggie with a high-quality avocado oil or grapeseed oil, apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar, and your choice of herbs and spices. Cut into slices and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, or add chunks to a grilled kabob.
Chips: For a healthier potato chip alternative, slice up a few zucchini, drizzle the pieces with olive oil, coat them with almond meal (instead of breadcrumbs!), sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and oregano, and stick the pan into an oven that’s pre-heated to 350°F. Wait 15 minutes for ultimate crispy goodness!
Bread/muffins: Amp up the nutrient density of your baked goods by adding some grated zucchini. We recommend using almond or coconut flour instead of refined flour, and honey or maple syrup in place of refined sugar (as we do in our meals).
Fries: Reduce your carb intake by chopping up zucchini into sticks, breading them in egg and parmesan (or egg and almond meal), bake them in the oven at 425°F for 20-25 minutes (until crispy), or toss them into an air fryer for an even crispier version minus the oil.
Salad: Add thinly sliced raw zucchini, grilled corn, red onions, tomatoes, and other summer veggies, like beans, and toss them all with olive oil, lime juice, sea salt, and pepper.
Zucchini can also be found in these Freshly meals: Turkey Meatballs & Zoodles with Rustic Tomato Sauce, Wild-Caught Mahi with Cilantro-Lime Rice & Romesco and Chicken & Summer Zucchini with Quinoa and Citrus Dressing.