Zucchini Facts & Zany Zucchini Recipes

Did you know that zucchinis are a member of the melon and gourd family?  So does that make them both a fruit and vegetable?  Yes, yes, it does.  In culinary terms, zucchinis are considered vegetables as they are usually cooked and presented in savory dishes or savory sides.  However, in the botanical context, zucchinis are immature fruits! 

Zucchinis were introduced into the Mediterranean region by Christopher Columbus on his travels back from Africa.

The word zucchini is actually derived from the Italian word zucchino, which means small squash.  Additionally, the word squash comes from the Native American word, skutasquash, which means “green thing eaten green.”

Did you know that the flowers of zucchini plants are edible?  In Mexico the flowers are used in soups or fillings for quesadillas!

Zucchinis are high in fiber and Vitamin A and low in calories!

*As a side note, zucchini can be grated and frozen and used in baked goods, like zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini cake, but I do not recommend using frozen zucchini for the recipes listed below.

Zucchini-Crusted Pizza
Serves 4

Ingredients:
olive oil for greasing cookie sheet
2 C.  zucchini, grated and drained (about 2 medium zucchini)
2 eggs beaten
1/3 C. flour
3/4 C. grated mozzarella
1/8 C. grated fresh parmesan
Optional: pinches of basil, marjoram and/or rosemary

TOPPING SUGGESTIONS:
extra olive oil
1 large ripe tomato, sliced
extra mozzarella,
2-3 large garlic cloves, sliced
mushrooms
bell peppers, sliced

onion, sliced
olives, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with foil and coat with olive oil.
2. Combine zucchini, eggs, flour, mozzarella, parmesan, herbs and 1 TBS olive oil in a bowl & mix well.
3. Spread into the prepared pan & bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven.
4. Top with your favorite pizza items and bake at 400 until heated through (about 10 min.)

**It is important to try to remove some of the water that is in the zucchini, otherwise the dough will get too watery.  In order to do this, you can grate the zucchini and allow for at least an hour for it to drain or you can squeeze the zucchini, once grated, with paper towels.

**This recipe is adapted from the Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook – her website has a lot of free, healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipes too!  (http://www.molliekatzen.com/index.php)

Zucchini Pancakes – (This is a common side dish served in Turkey)
Serves 3

Ingredients
2 C. zucchini, grated, unpeeled (and press dried between towels)
2 Tbsp. grated or finely chopped onion
¼ C. parmesan cheese
2 C. flour
2 eggs
¼ tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in large skillet.  Spoon batter ( 2 heaping Tbsp. makes a nice size) into skillet.  Cook over medium heat until browned on both sides.

2. Serve plain or top with tomato sauce, grated cheese, sour cream or yogurt.

Written by Aimee M. Gallagher

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