Food of the Month:  Zucchini

Food of the Month: Zucchini

One of the reasons we love zucchini is because it’s incredibly versatile. You can use it in soups, serve it as a side dish, or spiralize it into noodles (our favorite). It’s incredibly easy to prepare. Not to mention, it’s low in calories and carbs, but rich in beneficial nutrients such as potassium, fiber, Vitamin A & Vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins.

Because of it’s potassium content, zucchini can help improve cardiovascular health. Potassium helps lower blood pressure and counter the effects of foods with a high sodium content. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, zucchini is a great option to include in your diet. It’s vitamins and minerals can help regulate insulin levels and as mentioned previously, it’s very low in carbs and calories. Plus, if you’re a pasta lover, you can substitute zucchini noodles for pasta (try the recipe below!).

When buying zucchini, look for smaller to medium sizes because those typically hold more flavor. Also, the darker the green color of the zucchini, the better. The darker color signifies greater nutrients. Since zucchini doesn’t have a super tough skin, you definitely want to purchase organic zucchini.

If you’d like to incorporate zucchini into your next dinner, below you’ll find a current favorite recipe of ours, zucchini noodles with avocado pesto sauce. It’s filling, healthy, tasty, and really easy!

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto Sauce

2-3 Zucchini
1 avocado
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 cup spinach
1 clove garlic
Fresh lemon juice (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Olive Oil
3/4 cup hot water (or pasta water if using regular pasta for this dish)
Fresh grated parmesan

Directions:
For the zucchini noodles:
Use a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler, but the spiralizer is the easiest and fastest way to make the noodles. Plus, they come out looking just like pasta noodles. Some individuals prefer peeling the skin before spiralizing, which is an option. Once the noodles are made, I like to salt them and let them sit in a colander for 20min or so to let some of the excess water out. Then blot with a paper towel. Saute zucchini noodles to your liking for tenderness in a little bit of olive oil.

For the avocado pesto sauce:
Combine the avocado, pecans, water, lemon juice, basil, spinach, garlic, salt & pepper, and dash of olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. It will be a thicker sauce. If you need to thin it out more, just add extra water.

Top the zucchini noodles with the avocado sauce and some freshly grated parmesan and you’re ready to go! We also typically add sauteed chicken to this dish, which makes for a very tasty addition! You can really be creative and add more vegetables if you like. Roasted cherry tomatoes also go nice as a topping on this dish.

We hope you enjoy!

 

Sources:
http://draxe.com/zucchini-nutrition/
http://foodfacts.mercola.com/zucchini.html