This National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbour’s Porch Day – yep, it’s a real day! – it’s time to make the most of this abundant and affordable fruit. Here’s why it’s just as good for your gut as it is for your culinary creations.
August 8 has been designated the day to celebrate zucchini – in a rather unusual fashion we might add – stemming from the abundance of this plant. Particularly in the northern hemisphere where summer is in full force, vines will be bursting with this fruit (no, it’s not a veggie!) and if not picked in time, these guys are known to become huge. Even just 24 hours is enough time for zucchini to grow enormously – they’ll actually become marrows, which are better suited for gardening competitions as opposed to household cooking. Whether you’re getting your zucchinis from the store, farmers’ markets or you know someone who grows them in their backyard, pick up a few this week and get creative in the kitchen – or, if you so desire, leave them on your neighbour’s porch!
Digestive Health: Zucchini is rich in dietary fibre, which supports healthy digestion – this stuff aids in regular bowel movements, prevents constipation and promotes a healthy gut microbiome. Plus, the fibre content in zucchini can contribute to a feeling of fullness and aid in weight management, making you less likely to splurge on the sweet stuff.
Antioxidant Protection: Zucchini contains phytonutrients like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants. These compounds help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body, protecting cells from oxidative damage and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Heart Health: The potassium content in zucchini helps regulate blood pressure levels by counteracting the effects of sodium. Maintaining a proper balance of potassium and sodium is important for cardiovascular health. The fibre content in zucchini also supports heart health by helping to lower cholesterol levels.
Hydration: Zucchini has a high-water content, which contributes to hydration. Staying hydrated is essential for various bodily functions, including circulation, temperature regulation, and nutrient transport.
Eye Health: The presence of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin in zucchini is beneficial for eye health. These compounds are associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions.
Skin Health: The vitamins and antioxidants in zucchini contribute to healthy skin. Vitamin C, in particular, supports collagen production and helps maintain skin's elasticity and youthful appearance.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Zucchini contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, so consuming anti-inflammatory foods like zucchini can contribute to overall wellness – from reducing bloating and constipation to boosting mood.
Versatility: Zucchini's mild flavour and adaptable texture make it a versatile ingredient in both savoury and sweet dishes. It can be spiralised into noodles, added to salads, roasted, grilled, stuffed, and even used in baking for added moisture and nutrients.
Sounds good, right? If you’ve got your zucchini ready, try this delicious recipe that combines nutritious eggs with fragrant herbs, creamy feta and, of course, zucchini!
Zucchini and Feta Frittata
- 2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, or thyme), chopped for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sliced zucchini and diced red bell pepper to the skillet. Cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and slightly golden. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, crumbled feta cheese, milk, and a dash of salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat.
- Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, making sure the vegetables and feta are evenly distributed.
- Allow the frittata to cook for 2-3 minutes on the stovetop, or until the edges are set.
- Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the frittata is fully set and slightly golden on top.
- Remove the skillet from the oven (handle with oven mitts, as the handle will be hot) and let the frittata cool slightly.
- Garnish with freshly chopped herbs before serving.
- To serve, slice the frittata into wedges and enjoy warm. This Zucchini and Feta Frittata is a flavourful and satisfying dish that's perfect for any meal of the day. You can pair it with a side salad or whole grain bread for a complete and balanced meal.
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