Guide to Zucchini
We have to agree that zucchini might not be the most popular of veggies, but if you take some time to get to know a bit about it and to experience all it has to offer then we are sure you’ll end up thinking it is completely underrated. One of the reasons why they might not be very popular is because of their high water content, which, if cooked wrong, can turn them into a pretty bland food. There are endless ways you can enjoy these green squash-looking vegetables and once you get the hang of it, they will be a fantastic addition to your meals. From stir-fries, fritters, soups, and pasta dishes, zucchinis are a huge favorite when it comes to healthy plant-based cooking. Let’s dive into this Guide to Zucchini!
What are Zucchinis?
This might sound like a silly question but the truth is some of you might have never tried or cooked a zucchini before and are interested in learning everything about it. Curiously Zucchinis or courgettes (like it’s called in the UK), are not really a vegetable but a fruit belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family (if you find it has any resemblance to cucumber then it might be because they belong to the same lineage). These elongated green fruits are deep green (other varieties are golden yellow) on the outside with white and tender flesh on the inside.
An interesting fact about zucchinis is that they are harvested before it reaches its point of maturity, and the entire plant is totally edible (seeds and all!). Also, they grow some beautiful yellow flowers which are also edible!
Is a Zucchini The Same As a Summer Squash?
This seems to be a common confusion. Truth is zucchini is a summer squash but not the only one. There are several types of summer squashes out there and they all have the commonality of being 100% edible, unlike winter squashes (like the butternut and delicata variety).
How Many Types of Zucchinis Are There?
If we think of zucchini as the summer squash it is, then there are several different varieties in all different shapes and colors. Want to learn about a few of them? Let’s check them out:
- Green Zucchini: This is one of the most common types of zucchinis out there. It is long and dark green-skinned, and on the smaller side. It has a mild flavor which makes it perfect for dishes like stir-fries or ratatouille.
- Yellow Zucchini: This pretty variety has a similar shape and size to the green zucchini but has golden shiny skin. It does have a slightly less high water content which makes it ideal for cooking amazing dishes.
- Pattypan Squash: These funny names and shaped squashes are adorable and worth buying for the sole reason they will look beautiful on your kitchen counter. Available in a variety of colors ranging from dark green to white, they are cooked similar to their relatives. Great for grilling!
- Crookneck Squash: Another funny-shaped zucchini, just like its name suggests, it has a crooked neck and odd shape. With a delicate flavor, this yellow (sometimes pale green) variety is great for any dish.
- Cocozella Di Napoli: Striped and larger in size, this Italian variety is perfect for every recipe but it works particularly well for stuffed zucchini boats.
Can I Easily Grow Zucchinis at Home?
It might surprise you, but zucchinis are one of the easiest vegetables (or fruits if you want to stay true to its nature!) to grow at home for beginners. If you have the space, we highly recommend giving it a try. The only problem you might encounter is, you’ll have so many you won’t know what to do with them but, there are always neighbors and family members who would welcome a nice basket of homegrown zucchinis.
Are They Healthy?
One word: yes! Zucchinis are very low in calories and full of amazing nutritional qualities. Packed with many vitamins and minerals, adding zucchini to your diet will fill your body with goodness. Its high content of Vitamin A means that it supports vision health and is a great immune system booster. As if this wasn’t enough reason to fall in love with it, zucchinis are high in water which is amazing for hydration, in fiber making it a digestive friendly food, and in antioxidants which is amazing for general overall health.
Can I Eat Zucchinis Raw?
Absolutely! Zucchinis are rather tender and very mild in flavor which makes them a perfect option to eat raw. You can even add some raw zucchini sticks to your next veggie platter!
If you have never heard of zoodles before then this is a great time to start familiarizing yourself with them. Zoodles are like noodles but made by spiralizing raw zucchinis with a spiralizer. It might sound strange but they are absolutely delicious with a rich tomato sauce, an Asian-inspired dressing, or as a pad thai add-on. You can also mix them with your regular pasta in order to add some sneaky veggies in.
What Can I Cook With Zucchinis?
There are endless ways to cook them. Shall we look at a few?
- Steamed: As boring as it might sound, steaming zucchinis and then drying out some of its extra moisture is not a bad way to enjoy them. You can drizzle some olive oil and some sea salt on top, so good!
- Sauteed: This seems to be the most popular way of enjoying zucchinis. Sliced them or chopped them and then saute them in a pan with some onions and garlic. Perfect! Or just add them to any sauteed veggies you’re making and they will add great flavor and texture.
- Baked: If you’re a fan of a good tray of roasted veggies, then adding some zucchini might be a game-changer. They will add moisture and color to your, sometimes, dry potatoes and carrots.
- Air Fried: This is a new amazing discovery. Air frying zucchinis is another game-changer. You can coat them with some bread crumbs and then enjoy some crispy and tender zucchini fries.
Do you love zucchini after reading this? We at least hope this Guide to Zucchini has helped you integrate it more into your daily meals and experiment with it when you’re feeling inventive. Let us know in the comments what’s the best way you like to enjoy them!
Our Favorite Zucchini Recipes
- Banana Zucchini Cookies
- Summer Zucchini & Hominy
- Veggie Packed Potato Leek Soup
- Baked Zucchini Fries
- Veggie Kung Pao
- Caldo de Tofu