During these hot summer days here in the Northeast, I struggle to find easy meals to make. A recent purchase of zucchini from a farm market influenced my thinking. For the first recipe, I used my spiralizer and made zucchini "spaghetti" with pesto (which was handy in my refrigerator) and shaved parmesan. This no-cook recipe took minutes from prep to table. I found that one large zucchini made the perfect amount of spaghetti for one person. I added a tablespoon of pesto and shavings of parmesan cheese to this no fuss dish. It turned out perfect for dinner on a summer evening! Other options: Mix the zucchini "spaghetti" with any of your favorite sauces. Keeping it a no-cook recipe, add chopped cherry tomatoes, evoo, grated cheese and fresh basil.
Using the ribbon setting on the spiralizer, I made zucchini rolls. I filled the rolls with slices of yellow pepper, asparagus, fresh spinach and mozzarella cheese. I topped the rolls with my homemade caponata that I had in the refrigerator. On its own, the caponata is a great recipe, so I’m including it for you as well. These rolls were enjoyed with a mixed salad for an easy light lunch. Other options: Add any of your favorite veggies to the roll and serve with a side dipping sauce, i.e. hummus, sweet and sour sauce, or guacamole. You might also top the rolls with a balsamic glaze.
Ingredients: 2 eggplants, each 8 inches long OR 1 very large eggplant 1 and 1/4 cups of evoo 1 medium to large onion, your preference, cut into 1/2 inch dice (I used Vidalia) 1 6-ounce can tomato paste 2 tablespoons sugar (optional) 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1 large clove garlic, minced salt and pepper to taste Preparation: 1. Wash eggplant, trim ends, (I peeled the skin of the eggplant in stripes - this is a personal
preference) and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
2. Heat a 4-quart frying pan for 20 seconds. Add the oil and heat for another 10 seconds. 3. Add eggplant cubes and fry in the oil until the cubes are soft and particles on the bottom
of the pan are golden. The eggplant will absorb most of the oil, at first, and then the oil will
be released. 4. Remove the eggplant cubes with a slotted spoon, and place in bowl. 5. Add onions to the pot and fry until golden and soft. 6. Return the eggplant to the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 20 minutes
over low heat until all the flavors are well blended. Stir occasionally. Optional: Add chopped Kalamata or green olives, toasted pine nuts, or capers, OR all of them in equal amounts. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps for up to seven days in the refrigerator. Lastly, though it’s been too hot to bake, I saw a recipe on the Taste of Home website for a pina colada zucchini bread. Now that sounded cool even though it had to be baked. Bread is the one recipe I have never made in any form. When a bread doesn’t use yeast, it’s called a quick bread. Given that the bread called for minimal preparation, I had to give it a try. The coconut extract was substituted with two tablespoons of sweetened shredded coconut. The green specks of zucchini in the bread provided the moist foundation for this bread that had tropical notes of pineapple, coconut, and the crunch of nuts.
The bread turned out to be equally pleasing visually and gastronomically. Picture yourself sipping an ice cold pina colada and munching on a piece of pina colada zucchini bread with a smear of sweet butter– aah - a momentary tropical staycation!
Ingredients: 4 cups all-purpose flour 3 cups sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 4 large eggs, room temperature 1 ½ cups canola oil 1 teaspoon each coconut, rum and vanilla extracts
3 cups shredded zucchini 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preparation: 1. Line the bottoms of 3 greased and floured 8x4-in. loaf pans with parchment paper and
grease the paper; set pans aside. Preheat oven to 350°. 2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. 3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients until just
moistened. Fold in the zucchini, pineapple and nuts. 4. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the
center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Gently remove parchment paper.