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.
Something I never foresaw when I started this blog was being featured nationally. Shortly after the article from my university, a reporter from NPR contacted me for an interview and published an awesome article about my blog. My mind was blown away as I saw the number of viewers increase exponentially and especially when friends from high school were telling me they stumbled upon the article on NPR’s website.
As more attention has been directed to this blog, I’ve been thinking about the direction that it’s going in. Most people are fascinated by the fact that I strive to create recipes that are healthy, something that many people aim to be and what college meals are not exactly known for. I’ll admit that a lot of the desserts I make are not healthy on their own, but rather are healthier alternatives to what they could have been. As much fun as it can be to make desserts healthier with all kinds of crazy substitutions, I’ve started to try to cook more healthy, quick dishes for lunch and dinner.
I’ve gotten quite a few requests for vegan/vegetarian dishes. Well, here is a dish that is actually downright healthy, requiring few ingredients and can be made in minutes. Vegetable pastas have been becoming very trendy in the foodie world. I first made this “zucchetti” in my dorm when I was studying abroad. Sometimes after traveling and eating my way through Europe, I would feel the urge for a detox/cleansing period where all I wanted to eat was vegetables. This is an excellent way to eat lots of vegetables and for a low-carb diet. I was actually inspired by a small food booth in Copenhagen called PALÆO, which had a delicious vegetable spaghetti with meat sauce.
The easiest tool for making zucchini spaghetti is a spiralizer but I used a julienne peeler, which worked just fine. I sauteed the zucchini in a pan, but you can also eat it raw if you want more crunch. I liked the zucchini spaghetti with just pesto; however, you can add meat or vegetables to it!
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pesto sauce
- salt and pepper
- Using a julienne peeler, peel zucchini vertically in strips all around the zucchini until you reach the seeds. (Toss the seed core away).
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the strips of zucchini and quickly sautee for about a minute (until just tender).
- Turn off the heat and add pesto. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Happy New Year! To start off 2015, I made a chocolate zucchini bundt cake. Putting vegetables in a dessert does not sound very appetizing but I dare you all to try it because it still tastes amazing. The zucchini adds moisture and fluffiness to the cake – plus, you won’t even notice that it’s there.
This was my first time baking a bundt cake and all I could keep thinking of when making it was the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the mom says “There’s a hole in this cake!” If you don’t have a bundt cake pan already, you should seriously consider buying one! Making cakes in them is just as easy as regular cakes but 10 times as impressive. I brought this cake to a New Year’s Eve party and everyone was amazed, taking lots of photos before finally cutting into the cake.
This moist chocolate cake was not too sweet on its own but the icing definitely sweetened it a lot. The cake has a lot of complex flavors from the shredded orange peel, nuts, and zucchini. It is a must try!!!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BUNDT CAKE
2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft butter
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (from about 2 zucchinis)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Shred zucchini and drain in a sieve over a bowl to release excess moisture.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugars together with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini. (Batter should be very wet at this point.)
Alternately stir in the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition. (Batter will still be pretty wet.)
Spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan lightly with cooking spray. Wipe off the excess. Pour in the batter and use a rubber spatula to level the top of the batter.
Bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean (test at 45 min). Cool in pan 15 minutes. Carefully flip onto wire rack to cool thoroughly.
For the glaze, mix together the glaze ingredients. You can do this by hand with a whisk or a spoon. If the glaze is too runny, add some more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more milk. Drizzle glaze over cake.
adapted from Simply Recipes