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Nutrition Monday – Zucchini!

Summer Zucchini

ZucchiniNothing screams summer like fresh veggies. We are officially in the beginning of summer and we thought we would highlight one of our favorite veggies, the zucchini.

A staple at many farmers markets during the warmer months, zucchini, which is a type of summer squash, and it can range in color from yellow to deep green. It has a tender texture with a slightly sweet flavor and, at just 21 calories per cup, it makes a welcome addition to a calorie-controlled diet. Zucchini boasts a rich nutritional profile, and it offers health benefits thanks to its phytonutrients, mineral and vitamin content.

Vitamin C

Zucchini serves as a good source of vitamin C. A water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C dissolves in your body fluids and protects your cells from free radicals, which are highly reactive compounds that oxidize your DNA, lipids and proteins, causing cellular damage. Getting enough vitamin C in your diet also aids in nerve cell communication, helps your body metabolize cholesterol and keeps your tissues strong. A cup of chopped zucchini contains 22 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 24 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 29 percent for women, set by the Institute of Medicine.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Zucchini also provides you with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytonutrients that belong to the carotenoid family, which is the same nutrient family that includes beta-carotene, a source of vitamin A. Lutein and zeaxanthin promote healthy eyesight. They filter light rays as they enter your eye, helping to ensure that harmful rays can’t damage your eye tissues. While, as of September 2013, the Institute of Medicine has not set a recommended daily intake for lutein and zeaxanthin, the American Optometric Association notes that intakes of at least 6 milligrams per day can reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes blindness. A cup of chopped zucchini provides 2.6 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin, or 43 percent of this intake goal.

Manganese

Consuming zucchini also boosts your intake of manganese, an essential mineral. Like vitamin C, manganese protects your tissues from harmful free radicals. It supports the function of glycosyltransferases, a family of proteins that promote healthy bone tissue development. Manganese also helps your body produce collagen essential for efficient wound healing. Each cup of chopped zucchini boasts 0.22 milligram of manganese. This provides 12 and 10 percent of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily intake for women and men, respectively.

1. Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed-ZucchiniServes: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 zucchini, halved, seeds and pulp removed

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare stuffing: In a large saute pan on medium-high, heat 1 tsp oil. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining 2 tsp oil, vinegar, bread crumbs and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Spoon an equal amount of stuffing into each zucchini half. Bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Nutrients per 1/2 stuffed zucchini: Calories: 110, Total Fat: 5 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 12 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium: 135 mg, Cholesterol: 2 mg

2. Spinach Zucchini Ravioli

zucchini-ravioli

Serves 12 Ravioli

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp. of Grill Mates- Montreal Chicken Seasoning (or you could use just salt & pepper)
  • 4-Zucchini
  • Tomato Marinara Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice zucchini  with peeler; set strips aside
  2. In a medium wok combine:  ground turkey, chopped fresh spinach,  1/2 large onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and seasoning; sauté until turkey is cooked all the way through
  3. Assemble the ravioli using 4 zucchini strips and 2 Tbsp. of turkey mixture.
  4. Wrap them up and put face down in baking dish.
  5. Top with marinara sauce and bake at 350* for approx. 30 minutes

 3. Spicy White Bean and Zucchini Spaghetti 

dsc_0116edited2Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Vegan

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz. gluten-free pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. Barlean’s organic ground flax seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook gluten-free pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package; drain and rinse under cool water for 2 minutes then set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt and pepper.
  3. Add cooked pasta, white beans, zucchini and finely chopped fresh basil, red pepper, sesame seeds and ground flax seeds; gently toss to coat with balsamic dressing.
  4. Serve warm.

4. Zucchini Taco Bites

ZUCCHINI TACOServes – whole family

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1/2 pound (leftover) taco meat
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar
  • opt parsley leaves
  • opt sliced black olives

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice zucchini and place on buttered baking sheet.
  2. Top with a spoon or so of taco meat.
  3. Sprinkle on cheddar.
  4. Top with parsley, olives, etc if you like.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.

5. Cinnamon Paleo Zucchini Bread               {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free}

dairy-free-gluten-free-zucchini-breadServes: 6-8

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegetarian
INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large ripe zucchini, shredded (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1½ Tbsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ tsp. Himalayan sea salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. gluten-free (aluminum-free) baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. all spice
  • ¼ tsp. fresh lemon zest
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl; beat eggs until they are fluffy. Add zucchini, almond extract and coconut sugar; mix well. Slowly add coconut oil and continue to mix.
  3. Sift coconut flour; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine sea salt, baking soda, baking powder, almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, all spice, lemon zest and sunflower seeds; mix well to combine, then add the dry ingredients to the wet egg mixture. Stir well until wet and dry mixtures are combined and there are no lumps in the batter.
  4. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan; bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until bread is set. Check the doneness by inserting a toothpick after 50 minutes to see if the inside is cooked completely.
  5. Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve warm.
Calories: 298 Fat: 22.7g Protein: 8.3g Carbs: 30g Fiber: 6.2g Sugar: 20.2g Sodium: 273mg

 

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