Four years ago, I could probably barely tell you what a zucchini looked like, not to mention its taste. One celiac diagnosis and foodie awakening later...and you could say that I'm wee bit obsessed with the green veggie.
Unless buying (and eating) around eight a week is normal. In that case, welcome to the zucchini-loving family!
Whether you're a zucchini lover or hater, though, it's hard to deny that they wallop a nutritious punch. Though low in calories, carbs and sugar, zucchini offers high amounts of antioxidants, Vitamin C and B and potassium. Research also shows that zucchini (and other summer squash) can benefit eye and heart health, help control diabetes, aid digestion and balance the thyroid and adrenal glands. All great reasons to add this celiac's favorite green veggie to your daily menu!
How to eat your zucchini? Well, let's start with breakfast. Zucchini always sneaks into my morning eats thanks to a bowl of overnight zoats or a big, green smoothie bowl! Adding shredded zucchini to your typical oatmeal (or my oatless oats) creates a fluffy, voluminous texture with the bonus of a hidden veggie.
(It may turn your breakfast green, but your taste buds will hardly tell the difference!)
As for smoothie bowls, once you go zucchini you'll never go back! One common issue with smoothies is their sugar content - even if it's from only natural sources (like berries or other fruit), it can still cause a sugar high and crash. Adding frozen sliced zucchini (or squash) lowers the sweetness without adding any "veggie" taste. Talk about a double win!
When it comes to lunch or dinner, zucchinis also tend to land on my plate. On days when I'm craving a lighter dinner, I'll often stuff and bake half a hollowed out zucchini and serve with salsa and homemade chips. Zucchini also makes a delicious topping for pizza, baked potatoes or even chopped up in my crock pot enchilada!
Honestly, I've never regretted adding zucchini to a savory meal. If you're feeling really adventurous, you can even experiment with spiralizing zucchini into noodles. I love tossing zoodles into a pesto stir fry or grain free Mac and cheese - healthified comfort food that doesn't lose any of its traditional yumminess.
Zucchini even appears in my snacks - mostly in the form of homemade granola. Ever since I started baking my own granola, I've been addicted. (Twice-a-week-batches addicted). So, I thought, why not sneak some veggies into my favorite night snack?
Not only does shredded zucchini replace the oil in my recipes (thanks to its moisture), but it also helps bind the ingredients into chewy, crunchy clusters. As long as you shred your zuch' finely, you can't taste or see it in the final product. A serving of veggies that tastes like dessert? Miracles can happen folks.
Looking back at my pre-diagnosis eating habits, it's ironic that my diet was perhaps even more limited than it is now. Though I can't eat wheat, today I'm a more adventurous eater than ever - and I love experimenting with new fruits and veggies.
And if I give the grocery clerk a funny story to tell each week as I hoist my bag of zucchinis onto the conveyor belt?
Well, I'll just consider that my good deed for the day.
How do you feel about zucchini? Do you have a veggie or fruit you eat all the time? Comment below!