Extremely versatile and filled with nutrients, zucchini has become somewhat of a veggie superstar as of late. Its mild flavour pairs well with almost anything and it’s super low carb, which makes it a great ingredient to use if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight. Zucchini noodles or “zoodles” are a great low carb alternative to pasta and other noodle dishes, and the veggie tastes great whether it’s crispy, fried, stuffed, raw, or even baked into desserts. Once you embrace all the creative ways to use zucchini, you’ll see the possibilities are endless! Check out our favourite low calorie zucchini recipes below.
What Are The Health Benefits of Zucchini?
1. Can Improve Heart Health
Zucchini is ripe with ultra-healthy compounds called carotenoids, particularly lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene. Eating foods rich in carotenoids can slow or lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Zucchini’s high fibre content is also responsible. Pectin, a soluble fibre found in zucchini, has been found to reduce total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Zucchini is also high in potassium, which can help reduce high blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels. Healthier blood pressure is linked to lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Leads to Healthy Digestion
Zucchini contains a lot of water, which can help soften stools, making them easier to pass and reducing your chance of constipation. It also contains both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stools and helps food move through your gut more easily, while soluble fibre feeds the beneficial bacteria living in your gut. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish your gut cells.
3. Protects Your Skin
Carotenoids build up in the skin of zucchini and when we eat them regularly, they build up in our skin too. That build up shields our skin from harmful UV rays and pollution. It also may slow skin aging by helping skin stay hydrated and elastic.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
Zucchini is rich in water and has a low calorie density, which can help make you feel full. Its fibre content may also reduce hunger and keep you satisfied for longer. Eating zucchini is a great way to satisfy your appetite without excess calories.
4 Tips and Hacks for Cooking with Zucchini
1. Leave the Skin On
Zucchini’s colourful green skin is packed with nutrients and healthy carotenoids. The skin is soft, thin and easily digestible, so there’s no need to peel it. Just make sure to wash it well before cooking with it.
2. Don’t Overcook It
Zucchini has a super high water content (over 90%), so if you overcook it, the water will seep out and your zucchini will be soggy. Stop cooking it when it’s still firm and may appear undercooked. Cooking with larger pieces can also be helpful as they’re harder to overcook. You can also try salting your zucchini slices first to draw out some of the moisture.
3. Try an Elevated Baking Rack
If you crowd zucchini slices too closely on the pan, they’ll end up steaming and becoming soggy. Try using an elevated baking rack to help the air circulate. You can always use two separate sheet pans if you have more zucchini slices than will fit on the pan comfortably. Bake the pans in the upper and lower third racks of your oven and switch the pans’ position halfway through.
4. Use Raw Zucchini for Zoodles
Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are a healthy gluten-free alternative to pasta and other noodle dishes. When you cook your zucchini noodles, a lot of the moisture immediately leaks out, which leads to watery sauces and soggy zoodles. It also leads to a loss of nutrients and vitamins. Luckily, zucchini noodles are delicious when served raw, so there’s really no need to cook them. They have a crisp, tender texture and take well to dressings and sauces!
25 Lunch and Dinner Zucchini Recipes
1. Grilled Zucchini Salad | The Mediterranean Dish
2. Creamy Lemon Zucchini Pasta | Bon Appetit
3. Chicken Zucchini Casserole | ifoodreal
4. Golden Turmeric Zucchini Noodle Miso Soup | Love and Lemons
5. Zucchini Scallion Pancakes | Feasting at Home
6. Zucchini Noodles with Chicken, Cilantro and Lime | ifoodreal
7. Mediterranean Grain Bowls | The Mediterranean Dish
8. Creamy Pasta Pomodoro | Love and Lemos
9. No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna | Healthy Recipes
10. Ground Turkey Zucchini Skillet with Pesto | ifoodreal
11. Spiralized Zucchini Vegetable Noodle Soup | Love and Lemons
12. Shrimp Curry Potstickers with Zucchini | Good Housekeeping
13. Pad Thai Zucchini Noodles | ifoodreal
14. Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini | The Mediterranean Dish
15. Grilled Vegetable Kebabs | Love and Lemons
16. Shrimp Enchiladas with Zucchini and Corn | Good Housekeeping
17. Spiralized “Rice Noodle” Bowl | Love and Lemons
18. Szechuan Eggplant Stir Fry | Connoisseurus Veg
19. Vegan Zucchini Quesadillas | Feasting at Home
20. Easy Eggplant Basil Stir Fry | Eating Well
21. Grilled Zucchini and Pesto Pizza | Taste of Home
22. Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups | Sweet and Savory Meals
23. Grilled Greek Zucchini Boats | Kristine’s Kitchen
24. Blackened Tilapia with Zucchini Noodles | Taste of Home
25. Vegan Zucchini Chickpea Burgers | The Toasted Pine Nut
25 Snack and Dessert Zucchini Recipes
1. Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill | Once Upon a Chef
2. Baked Zucchini with Parmesan and Thyme | The Mediterranean Dish
3. Easy Oven-Baked Zucchini Chips | Table for Two
4. Zucchini Pizza Bites | Damn Delicious
5. Zucchini Tots | All Recipes
6. Parmesan Basil Baked Zucchini Chips | Inspired Taste
7. Baked Zucchini Fries | Damn Delicious
8. Zucchini Corn Fritters | All Recipes
9. Zucchini Bruschetta Bites | Peas and Crayons
10. Healthy Zucchini Wedges | 31 Daily
11. Chocolate Zucchini Bread | Love and Lemons
12. Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Bake Eat Repeat
13. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies | Two Peas and Their Pod
14. Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips | Love and Lemons
15. Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Coffee Cake | Pinch of Yum
16. Streuseled Zucchini Bundt Cake | Taste of Home
17. Lemon Zucchini Cake | My Baking Addiction
18. Zucchini Walnut Crumble Bars | The View From Great Island
19. Blueberry Zucchini Squares | Taste of Home
20. Zucchini Apple Pie | All Recipes
21. Carrot Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Walnut Frosting | From Valerie’s Kitchen
22. Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa | Hey Nutrition Lady
23. Lemon Frosted Zucchini Cake | Lemons for Lulu
24. Almond Flour Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Muffins | The Toasted Pine Nut
25. Zucchini Crisp | Live Eat Learn
These zucchini recipes will fill your body with nutrients and help you maintain a healthy weight. Use our cooking tips to get your recipes right every time!