Tag Archives: zucchini

Zucchini Hummus

I am in awe of anyone who is able to work through the copious amounts of zucchini we are (still!) getting every week in the Local Box. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, and yet once we get past a certain point in the season, I find the need to hide it in my food.

zucchini hummus

This hummus was inspired by a local raw-food restaurant. As it turns out, zucchini hummus is big in the raw-food world, so you can feel extra virtuous eating it. Plus it helps eliminate that possible bean-on-bean overload you might get from eating things like falafel with hummus. I love the bright flavor, and considering I have zucchini on hand more often than chickpeas, this might be my new go-to dip-slash-spread.

When you are selecting zucchini to use, in this recipe size doesn’t matter. However, if using a larger squash, discard the seeded center and use only the outer part. You can peel if you like, but I like the flecks of color the skin adds to the hummus.

zucchini hummus

Zucchini Hummus
makes approximately 1 cup

2 cups diced zucchini
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Blitz everything together in a food processor until smooth.

The zucchini will create excess liquid, so be sure to stir the hummus to reincorporate before serving.

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Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna

Vegetable lasagna is one of my favorite cold weather comfort foods, especially when autumn vegetables like zucchini are abundant. It’s a great meatless main dish, too, because it is filling and pairs perfectly with a quick salad. However, it can be difficult to make lasagna on weeknights since the traditional preparation is so time consuming– up to an hour of hands-on time!

This easy vegetable lasagna recipe avoids many of the pitfalls of traditional preparation by utilizing some useful short-cuts to save time.  Instead of parboiling the noodles and assembling the casserole in a baking dish, we’ll layer sauce, cheese, veggies and raw lasagna noodles right in a slow cooker. Since the slow cooker retains more moisture than traditional oven cooking, there is enough liquid in the casserole to completely cook the noodles right in the dish. There’s no need to use special no-boil noodles, either. Plain raw lasagna noodles are just fine.

Another time saver I like to use for this recipe is my food processor. I use the grater attachment to process my raw veggies for the dish in much less time than it would take to grate or dice them by hand. These veggies blend right into the pasta sauce of the lasagna and give the dish a rich texture and flavor, without adding distinguishable chunks of vegetables. If your family likes chunkier veggie lasagna, by all means cook the recipe as directed with chopped veggies an it will turn out great. Either way, the total prep time for this lasagna should take less than half an hour.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna (serves 8 )
adapted from “Slow Cooker Lasagna” by BettyCrocker.com

15-ounces ricotta cheeese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups shredded vegetables: your choice of onions, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, or greens. One large zucchini and half of a large onion yield about 2 cups.
10 lasagna noodles, about 1/2 of a 1 lb. package
24-ounce jar organic pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, oregano, and garlic powder.

Shred or chop the vegetables of your choice. Break the lasagna noodles into approximately 1/3-noodle sized pieces with your hands, so that they will fit easily into the crock pot.

Use a ladle to scoop about 1 cup of sauce into the slow cooker. Place a single layer of noodles on the sauce. Layer 1 cup of shredded vegetables on top of the noodles, followed by half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat the sauce-noodle-vegetable-cheese layers. Cover this with the remaining noodles. Ladle the remaining sauce over the casserole and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, until noodles are tender and most of the liquid in the casserole has been absorbed.

Eggplant Parmesan with Zucchini

eggplant parmesan

Even though we dipped down below the 90s last week, it seems summer is still going to stick around for a while, and along with it our summer produce. I for one was excited to see eggplant in our Local Box, as I’ve felt like I haven’t gotten my fill of it yet. I decided to use it in a simplified version of eggplant parmesan.

This version doesn’t have multiple layers, making it slightly less like a casserole. I also decided to forego spinach in favor of shredded zucchini. Eggplant parmesan is often a heavy dish, but this was a light and easy preparation.

Eggplant Parmesan with Zucchini
adapted from Tyler Florence

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 10 slices total)
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups shredded zucchini
Salt and pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella

Set up two shallow bowls. In one bowl, beat together egg and milk. Pour breadcrumbs in the other bowl, and set both near stove.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs, and place in skillet. Cook until golden on both sides, then remove to a 9×13 baking dish, arranging in a single layer. (Squish them in if you need to.)
Reduce skillet to medium, and add onions. Cook until translucent, then add tomatoes and zucchini. Cook until tomatoes have broken down a bit, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler.
Pour tomato mixture over the eggplant. Tear mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the top. Cook under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Pancakes

From WholeFoodsMarket.com

Fight the end-of-long weekend blues with a fun last meal- breakfast for dinner! These pancakes are a great way to use some of the beautiful summer squash we still have emerging from Texas fields, and are sure to be a crowd-pleaser too. Whole Foods suggests you top these with a maple syrup drizzle, warmed apple sauce or a bit of yogurt.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups 365 Everyday Value® Organic Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix
3/4 cup 1% lowfat milk or unsweetened non-dairy beverage
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Method

In a large bowl, whisk together pancake mix, milk, applesauce, wheat germ and 1 tablespoon oil and whisk until combined. Stir in zucchini and walnuts until well combined. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with some of the remaining oil. Working in batches, form each pancake by dropping 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook until it begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter and oil to make 8 or 9 pancakes total.

Blueberry-Zucchini Bread

Photo from My Baking Addiction

I first came across the idea of blueberry zucchini bread a while back, but many of the recipes out there are surprisingly unhealthy, considering the star ingredients are a fruit and a veggie. So when I went looking for a lightened-up version, I turned to My Baking Addiction. I’ve said before that I don’t do a lot of baking, but when I do, I often visit this site. Her recipes are delicious and her photos are lovely, too (don’t you love the one I showcased above?).

This version of blueberry-zucchini bread was just what I was looking for. Not overly sweet, it only calls for 1 cup of sugar (half white, half brown), and uses half white, half whole wheat flour to add a little extra fiber. It’s a perfect way to use up a bounty of blueberries and zucchini as well as sneak veggies into a snack kids will love, but adults love it smeared with a little butter along with their morning coffee. Well, I do at least. I guess I can’t speak for the whole adult population, but I’m sure many of them would agree with me.

Blueberry-Zucchini Bread (from My Baking Addiction)

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar; lightly packed
1 cup shredded zucchini
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugars. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan.

Bake 55-65 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

– Stephanie

Summer Squash Tacos

Veggie tacos are a great way to use up lots of produce because you can put almost anything spicy in a tortilla and- voila!- tacos!  These tacos combine traditional harvest vegetables- sweet corn, summer squash, onions- with spicy peppers, tart lime, and salty Cotija cheese.  The squash and peppers in these are straight out of this week’s Greenling Local Box.  I had onions and limes on hand from previous deliveries, and the corn was a surprise!

Let me explain.  The “surprise me!” is an under-publicized item on the Greenling website, and one of my favorite ways to stretch my grocery budget. When you add a $2 “surprise me” item to your shopping cart, Greenling will include a portion of whatever they have extra of that day.  Sometimes it’s produce, sometimes eggs, sometimes cheese or other artisan treats. The “surprise me” item is listed in the fruit and vegetable areas of the website, or you can just search for “surprise” and find it that way. Last week I added two “surprise me” items to our Local Box order and I got 2 ears of sweet corn and a few beets.  Even though I didn’t plan for those items, it has been easy to fit them into my meal plan and I saved several dollars over the regular price of the produce.  Okay, public service announcement over– I hope you enjoy these delicious tacos!

Summer Squash Tacos (serves 2, doubles or triples easily)
Adapted from “Veggie Tacos” by Elise Bauer on SimplyRecipes.com

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 ear sweet corn, cut off the cob
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 summer squash, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Tortillas and toppings:
4 tortillas
4 very thin slices jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons crumbled Cotija cheese (Feta or Chevre works well, too)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and peppers; cook until onions are translucent and peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add corn, squash and dried seasonings, and cook for about 3 minutes, until corn starts to get tender and squash is heated through. (I like the corn to be crunchy!) When veggies have reached desired tenderness, add chopped cilantro to the skillet and stir to distribute. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

For toppings, chop fresh cilantro and jack cheese into chunks.  Heat tortillas individually with a little oil in a skillet, or by wrapping the stack of  tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwaving for about 10 seconds.  Spoon vegetable filling into warm tortillas and top with jack cheese and cilantro.  Crumble a little Cotija cheese over the top, and garnish with a squirt of fresh lime juice.  I like to serve these by stacking the tortillas on top of each other and putting the whole mound of toppings on top.

Creamy Summer Squash Soup

This soup is creamy and rich, and pretty easy to prepare on a busy weeknight.  The best part is, it uses a lot of zucchini without tasting like zucchini, a real plus if you’re trying to use up a whole lot of squash! I adapted it from Heidi Swanson’s spinach and zucchini soup recipe, published on her wonderful blog, 101Cookbooks. I replaced the spinach in Heidi’s recipe with peppery arugula, which is plentiful in Central Texas this time of year.

The secret to this soup’s creamy texture is the pureed potatoes in the broth.  I recently bought an inexpensive immersion blender (under $20!), which pureed the soup right in the pot and made preparation a breeze.  I definitely recommend adding this handy gadget to your holiday wish list if you don’t have one already!

Creamy Summer Squash Soup (serves 6)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch shallots, white parts only, chopped
2 cups chopped potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
2 cups chopped summer squash (1 giant squash or 2 medium squash)
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3 cups chopped arugula (1 big bunch)
1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
Sour cream, yogurt, or olive oil to garnish

Chop all the vegetables.  If you’re using an immersion blender, be sure the vegetable pieces are less than 1/2 inch so they’ll purée easily later.  Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in the potatoes and zucchini, then pour in the vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  Stir in arugula and turn off heat.  Puree with an immersion or conventional blender until soup is smooth.  Squeeze juice from half the lime into the soup and stir.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  I liked lots of pepper in this soup!  Serve soup; garnish with lime wedges, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt or a little olive oil, and more cracked pepper to taste.

We loved this soup as a side dish, and ate it for dinner tonight with beer braised bratwurst and onions.  A big bowl of soup and half a bratwurst made for a hearty, comforting meal for each of us.