ABC SUPERFOODS: Z is for Zucchini

Zucchini

Benefits
One cup of zucchini contains 43% of the RDA of lutein, which promotes healthy eyesight. One cup also contains 10% of the RDA of dietary fiber, aiding digestion, maintaining low blood sugar, and curbing overeating. The fiber content as well as the folate, Vitamins C and A content also help to prevent cancer. Zucchini is also instrumental in preventing hyper-inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. The Vitamin C present in zucchini aids in nerve cell communication and keeps your tissues strong.

At the Market
-Zucchini is a popular staple at farmer’s markets through the summer and fall months.
-Find zucchini squash that feels heavy for its size. (The best size is about 2 inches in diameter and 6-8 inches long).
-Choose small to medium-sized zucchini that feature shiny, bright green skin.
-Avoid zucchinis that are too large or overly mature.
-Note: Soft and wrinkled ends indicates squash that is moistureless.
-Minor scratches or mild bruising is common, but avoid heavily bruised or large gashed squash.

In the Kitchen
-Store zucchini in a plastic bag inside the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
-You don’t need to peel the skin of zucchini before eating or cooking.
-Add zucchini to soups, casseroles, muffins, and stir-fry.

Recipe

Zucchini Pizza Crust

8 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup flour (sub almond flour)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp basil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt

Homemade Pizza Sauce
4 large tomatoes, quartered
2 tbls olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tbls fresh oregano (sub 1 tsp dried)
1 tbls fresh tyme (sub 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt

zucchini_crust1

Preheat oven to 550F with a pizza stone pre baking in it.
In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the squash by wrapping it up in a clean tea towel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing it out, discarding the water.
Once all of the excess moisture has been wrung out and discarded, place the shredded zucchini back into the bowl and add the cheddar cheese, flour, garlic, oregano, basil, eggs, and salt.
With your hands, incorporate all of the ingredients together.
Place the zucchini mixture onto a piece of parchment paper at least 15” in diameter, set on something solid that will make it easy to transfer into the oven.
Using your fingers, spread the zucchini crust mixture to form a circle about 14” in diameter, 1/2″ thick. Pinch the edges up so that it forms a nice crust.
Once the pizza crust has been shaped, transfer the crust on the parchment paper onto the heated pizza stone in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.
Once the zucchini crust has baked for 8 minutes, transfer the pizza on the parchment paper out of the oven, onto the solid surface you used before.
Top the pizza with sauce and any additional toppings that you’d like.
Once the toppings are on, transfer the pizza on the parchment paper back onto the heated pizza stone in the oven and bake for an additional 4 minutes.
zucchini_crustmain
In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, and salt.
Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomato. Lower the heat, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Once simmered, puree all of the ingredients in a blender.

Recipe taken from My Humble Kitchen.

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