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Zucchini: The Versatile Vegetable

Karen Alexander, Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

December 4, 2019

Technically a fruit, zucchini can be served as a side dish or featured in a main entree. It has many health benefits and can even be used in place of pasta.

Zucchinis are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and manganese. They are high in water content, low in carbs, and fat free. With a seasonal peak in July and August, they’re the perfect addition to your summer diet.

Due to their mild flavor, this versatile vegetable can be:

  • eaten raw
  • baked
  • sautéed
  • grilled
  • steamed
  • fried
  • blended
  • shredded
  • breaded
  • made into zucchini noodles, or zoodles, to make for a great twist on a traditional salad or replacement for pasta

Want to explore some new ways to use zucchini? Try this recipe of Sunflower Zoodle Salad in a Jar.


  • 1 zucchini, cut into thin noodles
  • ¼ cup roasted red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, reserved for garnish
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ginger root, grated
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard


Layer salad ingredients in a wide-mouth jar, with zucchini on the bottom.

To make the dressing: Soak 1/4 cup sunflower seeds in water for 1 to 2 hours to soften. Drain sunflower seeds and pour them into a food processor along with all of the dressing ingredients. Blend at high speed until smooth and creamy. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Garnish with sunflower seeds.

Oodles of Zoodles: Getting perfect zucchini noodles is made easier with kitchen gadgets designed to help you spiralize them and they are often well worth the investment. Also, zucchinis have a very high water content. After spiralizing, allow your zoodles to sit in a bowl for approximately 30 minutes, then transfer them to a cheesecloth or towel and gently squeeze to drain excess liquid before using.

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