Zucchini is a form of squash that is flavorful and rich in different vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of magnesium, vitamin C, manganese and many other minerals and nutrients that your body needs. Unlike cucumber, which can be eaten raw, zucchini is generally more appetizing when cooked.
There are a number of ways to prepare zucchini that will give you healthy food items to choose from and also a wide variety of food types. From plain zucchini prepared as a side to zucchini in baked goods, the options for healthy zucchini dishes are plentiful. Here are three ideas on how to prepare zucchini in a way to best maximize its nutritional benefits, while minimizing your intake of salt, fat and calories.
1. Grilled Zucchini
One of the best ways to prepare zucchini as a plain side is to grill it. Zucchinis can be grilled over a barbecue whole or can be cut up into different pieces for faster grilling. Because zucchini is a summer squash that is most readily available during warm months, it is a natural option for the grill. Prepare the zuccini with some light spices if you wish, or simply grill it plain. This makes an excellent and healthy side dish, provided that you select healthy seasoning options.
2. Roasted Zucchini
If you prefer to not use a grill or are looking for an alternative preparation method, you can roast zucchini in the oven. Cut the zucchini into slices to best affect the roasting, or even dice it into smaller cubes if you wish. You can place the zucchini on a metal tray along with other vegetables like onions, potatoes, squash and more. Season with spices if you wish, and douse with a little bit of olive oil to aid in the roasting process. Set the oven on a medium temperature and roast the tray for several minutes until the zucchini has begun to soften up. This can be used as a filling in burritos or other wraps, or it can be included as a unique side dish.
3. Baked Zucchini
Zucchini is commonly included in baking dishes. Zucchini bread and zucchini muffins are excellent and delicious ways of including vegetables in your baking. This adds vital nutrients and eliminates the need for certain potentially unhealthy ingredients like fats and sugars. In these cases, you’ll typically include raw zucchini that you’ve shaved into small particles. Depending upon the exact recipe, you may need to cook the zucchini somewhat before you include it in the dough.
For the best health benefits of eating zucchini, choose vegetables that are dark in color. Don’t overcook them, and minimize the butter and other oils that you include while you do. This will preserve the flavor while also maintaining the natural healthfulness of the zucchini while you eat.