Thankfully, we’ve teamed up with Yumna Jawad of Feel Good Foodie to highlight five of her all-time favorite, easy zucchini recipes that highlight to celebrate the quintessential summertime ingredient. Plus, we caught up with Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and the founder and director of Real Nutrition, who shared some of the key ways zucchini is great for overall health.
Health benefits of zucchini, according to a registered dietitian
Whatever way you slice it, zucchini is delicious and packed with nutrients. “Zucchini is a great source of vitamin A, which is important for skin health. In fact, one cup provides 40 percent of the daily recommended dietary allowance,” Shapiro says. What’s more, zucchini is rich in antioxidants—two of them include zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which promote eye and skin health and help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress on cells.
Zucchini is packed with hydration-boosting potential, too
And there’s no denying that as heat waves come and go throughout the summer, our hydration levels can start to take a toll. That’s why Shapiro says zucchini is a great option for replenishing lost hydration (for context, zucchini is comprised of 95 percent H2O).
…And it’s great for gut health
Finally, this fruit is ideal for promoting digestion thanks to its high water and fiber content. To that end, Shapiro recommends adding them to smoothies—it’s a fruit, after all—as it can boost nutrition and hydration with one quick pulse. For best results, freeze them before blending.
5 easy zucchini recipes to celebrate the season’s harvest
1. Lemon Zucchini Bread
Think of this lemon zucchini bread as the perfect summery version of a year-round classic. Indeed, the majority of (albeit delicious) zucchini bread recipes tend to err on the side of warm, spicy, and nutty. This recipe has all of those great-tasting flavors plus the light and refreshing pizzazz of tangy, longevity-boosting lemon. Jawad adds lemon zest to the zucchini bread batter, a slightly unique approach compared to other zucchini bread recipes. But what truly sets this loaf apart is the homemade lemon glaze drizzled overtop that’s the perfect compliment to moist and luscious zucchini bread. Swoon.
Get the recipe: Lemon Zucchini Bread
2. Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Protein is the name of the game when it comes to these quinoa-stuffed zucchini boats (one cup of quinoa has over eight grams of protein). Rather than stuffing zucchini boats with the usual ground beef or poultry, Jawad makes a shallot, tomato, and quinoa stuffing that’s satisfying and hearty. Although the recipe calls for goat cheese, feel free to omit it for a vegan-friendly zucchini recipe modification.
Get the recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
3. Zucchini Fritters
Unsure of what to make for a weekend brunch? These zucchini fritters are the perfect option. They’re light, airy, and crispy, made with a grated zucchini patty flavored with seasonings like garlic and onion powder before being fried ever so slightly to achieve the perfect crunch. Then, to balance out all the flavors, Jawad pairs the fritters with a side of homemade labneh dip made from labneh, cilantro, garlic powder, and lime juice. All to say: It’s the epitome of comfort food.
Get the recipe: Zucchini Fritters
4. Zucchini Enchiladas
Looking for a low-carb meal option? Say no more. These zucchini enchiladas swap out tortillas for thinly-sliced zucchini that houses a delicious cumin and chili powder seasoned shredded chicken filling. Yep, we’re officially drooling. Plus, you can replicate the same concept to make just about any variation of these stuffed zucchini roll-ups your heart desires. Think: Zucchini lasagna roll-ups made with a creamy and dreamy Pomodoro sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese.
Get the recipe: Zucchini Enchiladas
5. Vegan Zucchini Brownies
If you’re of the opinion that a meal isn’t complete without something sweet to seal the deal, we hear you. So, let us introduce you to Jawad’s (genius) vegan zucchini brownie recipe packed with fiber and tons of chocolatey goodness. Need I say more? Pair it with a scoop of your favorite alt-milk ice cream, and you’ve unlocked heaven on Earth.
Get the recipe: Zucchini Brownies
Easy gluten-free zucchini bread, anyone?: