This popular summer squash has inspired many creative culinary dishes. It’s edible from its smooth, tender peel, to its creamy white flesh and small seeds…and because it contains an abundance of nutrients, it’s just good overall for maintaining optimal health. For example:
It may not surprise you that zucchini is low in calories (about 20 per cup), rich in fiber and antioxidant nutrients of manganese and vitamins A and C. But it may surprise you to know it has an unusual amount of other antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are especially helpful in antioxidant protection of the eye, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Along with copper found in zucchini, vitamins A and C deter the development of many hyper-inﬂammatory disorders, including asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Other valuable nutrients include magnesium, a mineral proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; and folate, a vitamin needed to break down the amino acid homocysteine, which - if levels in the body shoot up - can contribute to heart attack and stroke.
And men take note, studies show that phytonutrients in zucchini aid in reducing symptoms of BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophy, or prostate enlargement.
So let’s get cooking. Try this healthy, quick, and easy way to enjoy zucchini without the extra fat, mess, and bother of frying them.
- 2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed dry in a clean towel
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove minced garlic or ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F◦. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into flattened patties. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes on one side. Flip, and bake for another 10 minutes, until both sides are golden brown.
- Serve topped with pesto and your favorite cheese.
Adapted from http://healthyfortwo.com/2011/08/14/baked-zucchini-fritters/
Makes 8 fritters, per fritter: 71 calories, 1.5 g total fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 166 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein, 26 mg cholesterol