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What’s in Season Now: Zucchini

What’s in Season Now: Zucchini

Delicately flavored, quick cooking, and full of antioxidants that specifically protect the eyes (among other things), zucchini is a versatile vegetable to build a meal around this time of year. If you’re not growing it yourself, the seasonal bounty will be featured at farmers markets for months to come. Zucchini is a summer squash, which means they get harvested before their rinds harden. Winter squashes, like pumpkins, butternut, and acorn are eaten after the rinds have hardened or cured.

Health Benefits

Zucchini is low in calories, less than 20 calories per cup, and provides a healthy dose of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers. Zucchini and other summer squashes contain compounds that help scavenge harmful free radicals from the body which play a role in aging and various disease processes. Boasting more potassium than a banana, zucchini is a heart-friendly vegetable and helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure-effects of sodium.

Purchasing and Storing

Bigger is not better, at least when it comes to zucchini. Zucchini are best when they are 6-8 inches long, and about 2 inches in diameter. Look for shiny, unmarred zucchini that are firm and heavy in your hand. Larger sizes are great for stuffing, so don’t overlook them completely. Avoid those with soft and wrinkled ends, they have likely been sitting around for a while. The best place to buy zucchini is from your local farm or famers market to ensure they have that just-picked freshness that makes them so delectable. At home, place them in plastic bag and store inside the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator and store for up to 2-3 days.


The versatility of zucchini means you can prepare it in a variety of ways and almost never get bored. A simple dinner can be a quick sauté with olive oil and garlic, served over your favorite pasta or grain. Shred it into salads and tomato sauce for a boost of texture, color and nutrition. Use it to make zucchini bread. Replace your pasta with zucchini noodles by using a store-bought spiral cutter or a simple vegetable peeler (try this with Cashew Avocado Alfredo Sauce!). Stuff yours with chopped sautéed mushrooms, nuts, and a grain, then bake. Add it to a green smoothie. Try it in a tofu scramble. Cut thin slices and layer it on your pizza before baking. Layer large slices of zucchini with alternating layers of tomato and top with vegan mozzarella cheese then bake. Add some zip to your favorite jarred salsa by adding corn kernels and diced zucchini. The possibilities are limitless, as I think you can see.

However you enjoy your zucchini this time of year, make it simple, make it delicious and make it cruelty-free!



Compassionate Cuisine, Seasonal Spotlight