The zucchini is sort of a vegetable hero. Chock full of vitamins, fiber, potassium and other nutrients—as well as a laundry list of health-boosting antioxidants—it delivers both a health and flavor boost. Plus, since it contains a mere 30 calories per medium-sized zucchini, it plays well with any diet plan.
And, if all the wellness and weight loss factors weren’t enough to turn you toward this versatile squash, did you know that zucchini is also surprisingly scrumptious—especially when prepared with a little creativity? These 20 delicious dishes will convert even the most avid anti-veggite into a lean, green-eating machine.
1. Sautéed Zucchini
This delicious sautéed zucchini recipe from Chowhound is anything but a flash in the pan. Oil, garlic and red pepper flakes provide a flavorful foundation for the versatile vegetable. After sautéing until golden brown, the zucchini can be sprinkled with Parmesan before serving.
2. Grilled Lemon & Garlic Zucchini Slices
Potato chips are so last decade. These zucchini slices are flavored with a lemon-garlic marinade, then grilled to perfection and sprinkled with spices and vegan parmesan for a refreshing, crispy summer side dish.
3. Zucchini Pizza
Move over, pepperoni: There's a healthy new topper in town. This veggie pie is adorned with grilled zucchini, ricotta, Parmesan and nutty Gruyère. Thank you, pizza gods.
4. Low-Carb High Taste Zoodles
Get your hands on a vegetable spiralizer and transform a fresh zucchini into delicious, low-carb "zoodles" with this recipe from HurryTheFoodUp. It's kind of like the world’s healthiest (and most delicious) magic trick. This vegetarian dish can go vegan with a simple substitution of vegan pesto.
Image via HurrytheFoodUp
5. Zucchini Parmesan
If you've got three ingredients and 10 minutes, you can enjoy this delightfully cheesy, and surprisingly healthy, vegetarian side dish.
6. Mom's Zucchini Bread
More than 5,000 reviewers raved unanimously about this moist, flavorful bread featured in All Recipes magazine. And, hey, moms: It's a great way to sneak veggies into a picky little one's diet.
7. Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Skewers
Shake up your next backyard barbeque by replacing burgers and dogs with these savory skewers. Chicken and zucchini are marinated with yakitori sauce, punctuated with green onions and grilled to your liking.
Image via Skinnytaste.com
8. Garden Lasagna
Every veggie lover's dream, this aptly-named lasagna features a generous amount of zucchini, along with carrots, onions and fresh basil. It's perfect for a summer dinner party.
9. Zucchini Muffins
From breakfast to dessert, these moist, flavorful muffins are an ingenious way to get the kiddos to gobble up their veggies. Grated zucchini is mixed with egg, spices and optional fruits and nuts, then baked into guilt-free pastries.
Image via Simply Recipes
10. Crunchy Zucchini Rounds with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
The name says it all. Assemble these petite nibbles in a few minutes flat, serve to your guests and watch them disappear.
11. Zucchini Oven Chips
Who needs french fries when you have these crispy baked chips? They pack all the crunch and flavor of fried chips, without the extra fat or calories.
12. Grilled Zucchini with Feta & Pesto
Simplicity at its most delicious, this dish will make guests wonder if they've wandered into a gourmet restaurant. Grilled zucchini is all dressed up with fresh Feta cheese and flavorful pesto.
13. Zucchini Pizza Bites
When you're craving pizza but don't want (or can't have) the crust, turn to these gluten-free delicacies. Low-fat mozzarella and pizza sauce are layered on zucchini slices, seasoned with basil and baked.
14. Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Quiche
With thinly sliced zucchini, caramelized onions, eggs and a blend of cheeses, this easy quiche will steal the spotlight at any weekend brunch.
15. Lemony Zucchini, Chickpea and Lima Bean Salad
This refreshing medley puts ordinary salads to shame. Zucchini, chickpeas and lima beans are the stars of this light summer dish, flavored with basil, Parmesan and red-pepper flakes.
16. Zucchini Chili-Cheddar Mash
Experience the softer side of zucchini with this flavorful mashed version. Onion, sharp cheddar and green chiles add a zesty flair.
17. Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
When you just can't silence those chocolate cravings, indulge guilt-free with these moist muffins. The cocoa and cinnamon satisfy your sweet tooth, while the shredded zucchini boosts your veggie intake.
18. Zucchini-Farro Cakes with Herbed Goat Cheese and Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
If you're looking for an unconventional way to work fresh zucchini into your diet, you've found it in these whole-grain cakes. They're just as delicious reheated the next day.
19. Roasted Zucchini and Yellow (Summer) Squash
Breakfast or dinner, cold or hot, we'll take this roasted zucchini recipe any way it comes. Zucchini and yellow squash are drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic powder and roasted to perfection.
If fresh, flavorful zucchini floats your boat, reserve a spot at your next summer cookout for these scrumptious veggie vessels. The sliced plant is scooped out, then deliciously filled with a creamy mixture of zucchini pulp, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
21. Sausage and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
Who says you have to go meatless to eat healthy? These zucchini boats are stuffed with an herb-flavored mixture of turkey sausage, tomato and quinoa.
22. Creamy Spinach Zucchini Soup
This healthy soup is so creamy, it's hard to believe it's low-calorie. Sliced zucchini, potato, garlic and onions are simmered, blended and mixed with spinach for a healthy and flavorful bisque.
Have you tried (or would you like to try) any of these recipes? What's your favorite way to enjoy zucchini?
More From SparkPeople