Besides being high in vitamin C and protein, they're loaded with fiber, which is directly linked to maintaining a healthy metabolism. "Besides fiber, zucchini are rich in antioxidants, vitamin B6, lutein, and zeaxanthin—the latter two being good for eye health," says registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD. In other words, you're getting a lot of nutrient density.
- Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, New York-based registered dietitian
Rifkin says that however you nosh on zucchini, you'll reap these benefits. "Grilling, stir-frying, and roasting retain the most amount of nutrients, but microwaving does not 'kill' nutrients," she says. And in fact, cooking your zucchini is a good way to get its maximum benefits. Rifkin explains that cooking vegetables break down the plants' cell walls, releasing more of the nutrients bound to those cell walls. "Cooked vegetables supply more minerals, antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, than they do when raw," she says.
If you're wondering how exactly to get your fill, look no further: Rounded up here are ways to eat zucchini for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Get cooking!
Scroll down for 20 vegan zucchini recipes.
1. One bowl vegan chocolate zucchini banana bread
A warm slice of zucchini bread is the perfect breakfast for a weekend morning, and Hummusapien blogger Alexis Joseph, MS, RD—who is also a registered dietitian—perfected making a cakey, moist version without using eggs. Her recipe calls for flaxseed, so you'll get a decent amount of omega-3s and fiber. And the chocolate really kicks the flavor up.
Get the recipe: One bowl vegan chocolate zucchini banana bread
2. Zucchini bread oatmeal
This combo of rolled oats, warm coconut milk, finely grated zucchini, and spices is the ultimate comfort food breakfast. It also stays good for up to five days, so you can make a batch on Sunday and eat it all week.
Get the recipe: zucchini bread oatmeal
3. Zucchini pancakes
Now this is what lazy weekend mornings in bed call for. (Or, okay, afternoons.) Not only can you start your day loading up on good-for-you zucchini and fiber-rich rolled oats, they're also full of gooey chocolate chips.
Get the recipe: zucchini pancakes
4. Creamy zucchini blueberry smoothie
If you're more of a smoothie person, look no further than one of Minimalist Baker's go-to breakfasts, where the squash is blended with banana, blueberries, hemp seeds, and coconut milk. It's especially great if you feel a cold coming on—those antioxidant-rich blueberries will give your immune system a boost.
Get the recipe: Creamy zucchini blueberry smoothie
5. Whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip zucchini bread
Give your zucchini bread a seasonal twist by adding in pumpkin, which is exactly what The Foodie Dietitian Kara Lydon, RD, does in her recipe. It's so good that she serves it for breakfast and dessert.
Get the recipe: whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip zucchini bread
6. Arugula Pesto And Zucchini On Rye Toast
In case you haven't been to a restaurant in five years or don't have access to Instagram, there's a bit of a toast craze going on and zucchini wants in on the action. The answer: this arugula pesto and zucchini on rye toast. (Don't worry, there's still avocado.)
Get the recipe: arugula pesto and zucchini on rye toast
7. Raw vegan zucchini pasta with hemp seed alfredo sauce
What would a zucchini round-up be without zoodles? Here, Blissful Basil blogger Ashley Melillo uses them as a base for a creamy plant-based alfredo sauce, made with raw cashews, hemp seeds, almond milk, and nutritional yeast. It's just as satisfying as OG spaghetti but way less carb-heavy.
Get the recipe: raw vegan zucchini pasta with help seed alfredo sauce
This zoodles recipe, courtesy of Cookie and Kate blogger Kate Taylor, comes with an extra punch of protein. The source: pumpkin seeds. Oh, and the best part (besides the taste, of course) is that it takes just 20 minutes to whip up.
Get the recipe: zucchini noodles with basil-pumpkin seed pesto
9. Spicy zucchini black bean burgers
Zucchini isn't often thought of as a meat substitute for burgers, but it totally works when combined with black beans and flax (which helps hold the ingredients together). The secret to giving these burgers their bite is all in the spices, so don't hold back when adding the cayenne and cumin.
Get the recipe: spicy zucchini black bean burgers
10. Healthy zucchini chickpea stew
A big pot of stew is a dinner staple—especially if you have a full table to feed—and this one is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and texture. While most recipes call for chili beans, this one pairs chickpeas and zucchinis, giving it a full fall flavor profile.
Get the recipe: healthy zucchini chickpea stew
11. Sauteed vegetables
If you're looking for an easy side, this is it. The zucchinis are sauteed with red bell pepper, yellow spice, and onion. The secret to making this dish really flavorful is bouillon powder.
Get the recipe: sauteed vegetables
12. Vegan zucchini lasagna with tofu ricotta
You know how during fall and winter, you end up craving heartier meals? That's what this lasagna is made for. Since it's made with zucchini and tofu instead of meat, it's a lighter take on the classic Italian dish—and much more nutrient-dense.
Get the recipe: vegan zucchini lasagna with tofu ricotta
13. Black bean tacos with zucchini salsa
Love and Lemons blogger Jeanine Donofrio incorporates zucchini into her taco night by mixing it into her tangy salsa with avocado, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a few key spices. Add in the black beans and you have yourself a perfectly veggie-protein balanced meal.
Get the recipe: Black bean tacos with zucchini salsa
14. Finger food zucchini basil rolls with basil hummus
Mini pizza bagels have their time and place, but these little zucchini rolls will be a hit with a more grown-up crowd. Even though they look pretty fancy, they're easy to put together. Not that anyone has to know...
Get the recipe: Finger food zucchini basil rolls with basil hummus
Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these fritters are so darn satisfying to nosh on—especially when they're still hot. Top it off with a vegan sour cream and spring onion for the perfect finishing touch.
Get the recipe: zucchini fritters
16. Zucchini casserole
Made with the starring squash, coconut milk vegan Parmesan, bread crumbs, and spices this casserole comes together in a quick 30 minutes. The total prep time? A mere two minutes. It's that easy.
Get the recipe: zucchini casserole
17. Chickpea-stuffed zucchini boats
Slice your squash in half, scoop out a bit of the middle and they make the perfect edible little bowls. Here, they're stuffed with protein-rich chickpeas and a tomato-based sauce chock full of spices.
Get the recipe: chickpea-stuffed zucchini boats
18. Avocado kale pesto with zucchini noodles
This light meal is fiber on top of fiber! Kale, avocado, and olive oil are blended, forming a creamy dressing. The vibrant sauce is used to top off a bowl of curly zucchini noodles. Add tofu or chickpeas for protein and you have a quick and easy meal on the table in minutes.
Get the recipe: avocado kale pesto with zucchini noodles
19. Buckwheat zucchini chocolate cupcakes
Healthy cupcakes? Score! Besides the starring squash, these babies are made with buckwheat flour, a gluten-free alternative that's high in amino acids and antioxidants. They're also made with cocoa powder, which keeps them from tasting, you know, too veggie-forward and not enough like dessert.
Get the recipe: buckwheat zucchini chocolate cupcakes
20. Chocolate zucchini cookies
Pour yourself a glass of alt-milk because these chocolatey cookies are made for dunking. They may not look it from the outside, but they're chock full of green zucchini goodness on the inside. Also made with rolled oats, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, and coconut oil, they're the perfect pre-bedtime snack.
Get the recipe: chocolate zucchini cookies
As you can see, there is certainly no shortage of ways to use zucchini. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, the versatile squash instantly ups the fiber in any meal. Have fun experimenting with the recipes on this list and then come up with your own creative ways to use the veg.
Originally published September 20, 2018.
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