Evangeline Pulgo is a culinary enthusiast and has studied various ways of cooking healthy foods and baking cakes and pastries.
Just like many other types of squash, Zucchini is native to Central America. However, it’s thanks to the Italians who popularized the veggie that we’ve come to know and love today. They coined the name zucchini, which means ‘little squash’ for the new food that was brought to Italy by New World explorers and integrated into all kinds of dishes fast.
Zucchini dishes spread to cuisines all over the world. They’re easy to cook, amazingly versatile, and is nutrition-packed. A medium-sized zucchini only has 25 calories and contains more potassium than a banana. A zucchini furthermore also is a great source of vitamin A, folates, and manganese.
How do you enjoy your zucchini dish? There are several ways. The first thing to do however is to choose zucchini that’s about six to eight inches long and firm to the touch. It has a dried-out stem and feels heavy. It could also be yellow or green with a glossy texture.
Make sure to rinse the vegetable under cold, running water before using it in your recipe. You can enjoy it raw or cook in an air-fryer, microwave, oven, or on a grill or stove. Check out these five tips.
7 Tips in Cooking and Preparing Zucchini
1. Zucchini could be simply steamed in the microwave. Slice into bite-size pieces and put in a microwave-safe bowl. Use a lid to cover the bowl, but leave one corner slightly open. Cook for four to six minutes until soft. If it’s not yet tender, cook for one more minute and repeat until you get the desired texture.
2. For a big amount of zucchini, using an oven is an efficient way to cook.
After cutting the veggie in half, remove the seeds. Drizzle the zucchini with olive oil and with salt and paper, season to taste. Roast cut-side down around 30 to 60 minutes at 400 degrees until a fork could be easily inserted. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Cook in an air fryer for a crunchy texture. Commonly, an air fryer is used to make ‘zucchini chips.’ Cut thinly, then remove excess moisture by patting dry with a paper towel. Use olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then put the slices in the air fryer’s basket. For 8 minutes, cook at 350 degrees. However, the cooking time may differ, depending on the thickness of the slices. Zucchini chips will have a slightly brown appearance with a crisp texture.
4. Grilling typically is associated with fish and meat. Vegetables, however, could also be grilled. To grill zucchini, slice it into ½ inch-thick pieces. On a bowl, sprinkle the pieces with seasoning, adding a small amount of olive oil. You could opt to put the veggie on a grill pan or wrap it in aluminum foil. For grill marks, cut the veggie lengthwise and place it over the grates. Grill for about 3 to 4 minutes per side over medium heat.
5. Sautéing over a stovetop will boost the zucchini’s flavor. Slice it into quarters or circles to make bite-size pieces. To make zucchini noodles, or zoodles, use a vegetable peeler or knife to slice into thin strips. In a pan, mix one to two teaspoons of olive oil then cook over medium heat. It should be lightly brown and tender. Use salt and pepper to taste.
6. If you’re in the mood to broil, the smaller, more tender version of zucchini, the baby zucchini, is the best pick. Flash the vegetables under the broiler for a minute or two and enjoy delicious mellow zucchini bites. This is an easy and quick way to cook zucchini as a side dish served together with a pan-seared fish, roasted chicken, or pork tenderloin.
7. Zucchini is also delicious when baked, breaded, or crisped up. Bake this veggie with layers of marinara sauce together with two kinds of cheese such as mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Spread the sauce and cheese liberally on the middle portion of the zucchini but exclude the edges so they’re crunchy when they’re cooked.
Eating enough fruits and vegetables is important. Thus, if you include zucchini in your diet, you are keeping your body well-hydrated, healthy, and toxin-free. Zucchini is, without doubt, one of the most healthy and beneficial food choices that could be enjoyed in different ways and easy to consume.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Evangeline Pulgo