Garden tomatoes get a lot of attention, and even though their plants tend to produce in abundance, the other vegetable that is taking up a considerable amount of room in my kitchen is zucchini.
Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables you can grow. Because of its mild taste, chefs have been known to throw it into multiple dishes, and substitute it for regular items. Sure, you can grill it, sauté it, and bake it, but you can also get a little more creative. The new wave in cooking is slicing up your fresh zucchini and summer squash to resemble the most popular carb around—noodles. The result is a more interesting and flavorful dish without all the caloric guilt. Here are three ways to use your zucchini in this way:
This year I was introduced to one of the coolest kitchen appliances—the spiralizer. This handy tool normally includes multiple blades to let you adjust the thickness of the noodle. Not only can you create thin, fancy ribbons, you can also create thick, hearty noodles that are far superior to those created through laborious work with your julienne peeler. And since all you have to do is push the vegetable of your choosing through the gadget, it couldn’t be easier. Check out this recipe from Skinnytaste for some inspiration.
I long ago gave up hope of finding a gluten-free lasagna noodle, and so I have had to live for years without one of my favorite Italian dishes. Luckily, zucchinis have come to my rescue! Earlier this year I found a recipe that suggests cutting the vegetable lengthwise, resulting in thicker noodles that work well for lasagna. The trick is to slice thin, but then be sure to cook the noodles ahead of time and then squeeze out excess liquid. Check out a zucchini lasagna recipe from Oh Sweet Basil, here.
A julienne peeler will turn your vegetables into small shavings that can then be used to create a variety of other things. Mix with eggs and cheese and bake to make tater tots, or spread out on a pizza tray to create a healthy crust. Shaving a zucchini is also a great way to hide it in meals, like putting it in with burger meat, or even brownies and cupcakes. You will be amazed at how much you can do with your zucchinis if you choose this option. Check out Allrecipes’ popular zucchini brownies.
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