Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. I am a huge fan of zucchini and love to incorporate it in many of my recipes in various ways, whether going low-carb with zucchini noodles or adding it to a healthier dessert. However, I have never really enjoyed it alone – raw and without many other ingredients, the vegetable seems a bit bland. This all changed one night when I was dining in Spain. A friend and I were in a small, humble restaurant on the island of Mallorca where we ordered zucchini carpaccio, which turned out to be very simple but one of the most delicious vegetable dishes I ever tasted.
Carpaccio is an Italian dish that is made from thinly sliced raw meat or fish and typically dressed with olive oil, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. Although it is a common appetizer in the Mediterranean region, it is not as well known in the US. This vegetarian version of the dish was surprisingly amazing and as soon I took a bite, I knew I would have to recreate it at home. I wasn’t exactly sure what the ingredients were but I remembered the restaurant used a type of pesto that gave it a wonderful tangy flavor as well as arugula for some bitterness.
This elegant appetizer is perfect for the summer since it is light, refreshing, and flavorful. Make sure to pour plenty of extra virgin olive oil for a subtle, fruity flavor but also to obtain its numerous health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, a dietary pattern in the Mediterranean region that has been associated with lower risk of heart disease.
- 1 zucchini
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp pesto
- 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
- Thinly slice zucchini with a sharp knife or with a mandolin cutter. Arrange slices to be flat on a plate.
- Drizzle olive oil evenly on the zucchini slices.
- Sprinkle lemon juice evenly on top.
- Spread pesto on zucchini slices.
- Top with chopped walnuts.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Let sit 15 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Potlucks are one of the best forms of a social gathering. Friends, coworkers, or colleagues all get together and each share a homemade dish, a perfect opportunity to try a variety of food. It makes it even more special since everyone has put effort and love into making their dish, whether it be an old family recipe or their own. Growing up at home, my family and I would go to tons of family friends’ houses for potluck gatherings so it’s nice having them 0nce in a while at school.
This past weekend, our Spoon University members had our first potluck. Once all the dishes were arranged on a table, we all stood around ooh-ing and ahh-ing, taking photos and strategically planning which foods we wanted to try first. There was a nice balance of savory and sweet – pulled pork sliders, honey glazed meatballs, alongside apple crumble, pumpkin donuts, mini oreo pies and much, much more. We were all feasting with our eyes and by the time we were done eating, we were all slipping into food comas.
My contribution to the potluck was a butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread, a dish that I think is a potluck staple. It can be cut up into small bite-sized pieces to eat with your hands and it is mess-free. I had bought almost all of the ingredients earlier that day at the farmer’s market, including homemade dough. I was originally going to buy pre-made pizza crust from the store but the pizza vendor at the market gave me 2 homemade rolls of dough for $2! Another reason to love farmers’ markets
- 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1 pre-made pizza crust or 2 small rolls of homemade dough
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes.
- Thinly slice half an onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on low heat and add onions. Stir periodically for 30-40 minutes, until caramelized.
- When squash and onions are finished cooking, put onto the crust. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is brown.
- While flatbread is baking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan and lightly saute sage leaves.
- When the flatbread is finished baking, top with the sage leaves.
I know summer isn’t completely over yet but I’ve already found a pretty good meatless dish for the Fall. It’s a light salad with roasted vegetables and is full of protein from baked chickpeas.
Salads often get a bad rep cause they remind people of “rabbit food” as my roommate likes to say. It can be hard to find a good balance of flavor and texture without adding too many unhealthy additives like croutons and creamy dressings. Our dining hall has a great salad station that students love, but it can get repetitive since it’s the only good salad bar on campus.
I’ve made this salad in my kitchen about 3 times this week and I’d say its a couple steps up from “rabbit food.” It has a lot of flavor and crunch and is very simple to make. You’ll need an oven for roasting the vegetables, but you could also use a toaster oven, stir-fry them, or steam the vegetables in a pot or microwave.
ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD
1/3 butternut squash, diced into small cubes
1/3 head cauliflower
1 cup chickpeas
2 handfuls mixed salad greens
1/2+1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut butternut squash into bite-sized cubes and cauliflower into small florets. Place veggies into a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown.
Drain chickpeas and pat dry. In another baking tray, toss chickpeas with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Coat evenly and roast for 30 minutes, also stirring once halfway through.
For the dressing, mix 2 tbsp olive oil with 2 tbsp lemon juice.
To assemble the salad, mix the greens with roasted vegetables and the dressing. Sprinkle on the chickpeas.
adapted from To Her Core