One vegetable that you likely have more of than you know what to do with is the almighty zucchini. Gardeners, like I aspire to be, who grow zucchini learn to become very creative with their bounty, or try to pawn off the squash on their friends and family. When I lived in Vancouver, I had a small garden plot as part of a community garden and I loved growing and cooking with zucchini. Just check out these beauties!
Zucchini is a good source of fibre which helps lower blood cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, and keeps you regular. Like all vegetables, zucchini is also a good source of vitamins and antioxidants. Specifically, zucchini contains carotenoids: lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, which may reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease, and eye disease through their protective effect in the body. In the recipe below, adding avocado to the pesto sauce adds an extra boost of antioxidants and fibre and also replaces some of the olive oil.
If you grow or buy zucchini, or are one of the lucky recipients of this delicious vegetable, below is a great way to use them and get at least two servings of vegetable in. Round out the meal with a grilled chicken breast and some crusty garlic bread.
I’d love to get some new ideas of what to do with all the zucchini that is in its prime, so please leave a comment to share how you use it!
Creamy avocado basil pesto with zoodles (zucchini noodles)
Makes 4 servings.
- 5 zucchini, large
- 1 avocado, pit removed
- 15 basil leaves, fresh
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper, ground
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1. Julienne zucchini lengthwise by hand or with a mandolin. You can also use a vegetable noodle-making gadget to make long spiral noodles- or ZOODLES!
2. Place zucchini noodles in a colander with 3/4 tsp salt. Let sit for 30 minutes and drain liquid.
3. In a blender or food processor, mix together avocado, basil, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, and lemon until smooth.
4. In a sauté pan on medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add zucchini noodles. Cook for 2 minutes. (You can also leave them cold for more crunch). Note: I chose not to cook the zucchini this time, which made life a lot easier in this heat wave we are having!
5. Add sauce and parmesan cheese to the pan and coat the zucchini noodles. Heat through.
6. Serve and enjoy!
About Erin Branco
Erin is a dietitian with Northern Health's clinical nutrition team at UHNBC. Erin has a passion for growing and cooking food as well as teaching patients, clients and families about incorporating a balanced, wholesome diet into a healthy lifestyle. In her spare time, you can find her cooking up a storm, writing about food and nutrition, and growing vegetables at her community garden. During her dietetics internship, Erin explored the north from Fort St. John to Haida Gwaii, learning about clinical and public health dietetics with many adventures along the way.