healthy eating for healthy aging

Zucchini: versatile summer vegetable or butt of jokes

Zucchini: versatile summer vegetable or butt of jokes

I know it’s fashionable to joke about zucchini. In late summer. Everyone with a garden is trying to give them away. Or throwing them on the compost pile. At this moment, there are several very sizable zucchinis on my compost pile.

Pick them small


The first rule of growing zucchini: small is best. I try to pick them before they’re much longer than 8 inches, sometimes smaller. They have a better texture, there are fewer seeds, and the subtle flavor stands out. The problem with picking them small: it’s hard to find them under all those giant leaves. The plants seem to be on a mission to thwart our efforts at discovering zucchinis until the zucchinis weigh 10 lbs. Maybe it’s a survival strategy. The seeds are more mature, and since no one wants to eat giant zucchini, they end up on the compost pile. There’s a good chance some of those seeds will sprout next summer.


One cup of raw zucchini slices has:

protein1.4 gram
fiber1.1 gram
sugars (naturally occuring)2.8 grams
iron0.4 mg
vitamin C20 mg
potassium295 mg

Easy Uses

  • Add sliced raw zucchini to tossed salads.
  • Sauté slices in olive oil with herbs for a vegetable side dish
  • Slice lengthwise, toss in olive oil and grill until just softened. OR grill whole small-sized zucchini.
  • Slice thin lengthwise and use the slices like lasagna noodles for a casserole
  • Grate, and make zucchini fritters.
  • Add sliced or grated zucchini to a wrap or sandwich.
  • Make zucchini bread.
  • Use slices as a pizza topping.
  • Use lengthwise pre-cooked slices to make zucchini roll ups. Goat cheese with a fresh basil leaf is a great combination.
  • Add a bit of grated zucchini to pancake or muffin batter.
  • Spiralize zucchini and serve like spaghetti with a sauce. Tomato sauce or a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce are 2 good choices. Or simply toss with olive oil, garlic, herbs and Parmesan. For more adventuresome taste buds, try a S.E. Asian style peanut sauce.

The list could go on and on. There are thousands of ideas on the internet. My preference is always recipes that are simple, not loaded with unnecessary fat or calories, and probably vegetarian. One of my Go-To zucchini recipes in summer is Indian Style Zucchini and Tomatoes. which I adapted for simplicity from a recipe in an Indian cookbook.

Curry Style Zucchini and Tomatoes

August 23, 2022
: 4-6
: 45 min
: 1 hr 30 min
: medium

This vegetable dish comes out very soft and flavorful. Pair it with rice or flat bread, and a contrasting dish of raw or crunchy vegetables. Add plain yogurt as a garnish to boost protein. Use more or less jalapeno to suit your preference for spice.


  • 1-2 hot green chilis, such as jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 tsp ginger OR a 3/4 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds (roughly grind whole seed with a mortar and pestle)
  • 3 TB peanut or canola oil
  • 5-6 cups cubed zucchini
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped (or 1 large can peeled diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • Step 1 Seed and mince the hot pepper(s).
  • Step 2 Finely chop, or pulse in food processor, the cashews.
  • Step 3 Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Step 4 Add the minced pepper, cashews, ginger, coriander, cumin, fennel and 1/4 cup water. Heat until the mixture bubbles slightly. Do not dry out or allow to scorch.
  • Step 5 Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
  • Step 6 Add the tumeric, salt and chopped zucchini.
  • Step 7 Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until the zucchini is soft, stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking.
  • Step 8 Add more salt to taste if necessary.
  • Step 9 Serve garnished with cilantro.