Gardens are producing a bounty of zucchini and other summer squash, so it's a great time to sample new recipe ideas for these wholesome vegetables.
Very low in calories and sodium, soft-skinned summer squash is packed with vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and other minerals.
Although green zucchini is the most common summer squash, yellow crookneck squash and straight yellow zucchini can be used in place of green zucchini in most recipes.
When you select squash, look for those with bright, smooth skin. Avoid any with soft spots and those that are especially large, since they can be tough and bland.
After washing the squash to remove grit, just trim the ends and you're ready to dice, slice or shred it.
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Squash can be easily over-cooked, which turns it mushy, so cook it using a quick method like stir-frying or sauteing.
Try zucchini pancakes by combining shredded zucchini, minced onion, grated Parmesan cheese, thyme and black pepper with flour and beaten eggs. Cook in a bit of canola oil and serve topped with low- or non-fat sour cream.
Serve summer squash raw in a salad. Just toss zucchini slices with roasted red pepper strips, summer herbs, olive oil and vinegar.
Or, make chilled zucchini soup with sauteed, minced onion, curry powder, zucchini chunks, chicken stock and corn kernels. After cooking, purée the mixture in a food processor or blender and refrigerate until cold. Before serving, add low-fat buttermilk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Zucchini is delicious stuffed. Simply boil the whole zucchini for a few minutes, rinse under cold water, dry and cut lengthwise into halves. Carefully scoop out the seed-filled center to form boat-shaped shells. Serve with a tasty filling like rice or bulgur salad.