Add nutritious zucchini to your shopping list this month.
Zucchinis, or courgettes, are usually sold by colour rather than variety and are available year-round. Zucchini can be dark green, yellow or pale green (known as ‘white’ zucchini). They have an elongated shape with smooth skin and flesh that is slightly sweet, and white to pale green in colour with small, edible seeds. Their flavour goes well with a variety of ingredients and dishes.
Look for brightly-coloured, firm zucchini with smooth skin. Avoid any that have wrinkled skin, bruises or soft spots.
Zucchini should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchase, and can be kept in the crisper for up to five days. Do not wash zucchini before storing – this speeds up the ageing process.
Zucchinis can be stir-fried, steamed, pan-fried, barbecued or grilled. Thinly sliced or grated raw zucchini is great in salads, pastas, omelettes, muffins, fritters, breads and biscuits. Try grilling or barbecuing it for pizzas, sandwiches or served as a healthy, low-kilojoule side dish on its own.
3 ways with zucchini
Top a thin wholemeal pizza base with 2 tablespoons each no-added-salt tomato paste and low-fat ricotta. Add 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthways, crumbled reduced-fat feta, 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts and 1/2 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast. Bake in oven and once cooked, add lemon zest and top with rocket leaves.
Try these mini zucchini frittatas: Whisk 4 eggs and 100ml skim milk. Mix in 1 cup grated zucchini with 1 cup corn kernels, half a thinly sliced red onion and 50g crumbled reduced-fat feta. Divide mixture between 6 regular muffin holes and bake at 180°C for 10–15 minutes, or until golden and set.
Enjoy this winter salad: Roast chopped zucchinis, chopped butternut pumpkin and cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil spray and mixed herbs. Combine with baby spinach leaves, a few grilled haloumi slices, tinned lentils (rinsed), balsamic vinegar, finely chopped red onion and snow peas.