Easy Zucchini Recipes: How to Cook with this Low-Carb Summer Vegetable
August 31, 2020
A tiny bit bitter with a mostly neutral taste, zucchini's relatively bland flavor profile means it melds well with almost any flavor combination—salty, savory, sour, sweet, or umami. The zucchini harvest is June through late August, but you can find it in most grocery stores year round. Zucchini has become a more popular vegetable in recent years as low-carb diets like the Paleo diet, Primal diet, ketogenic diet, and Atkins diet have become more mainstream. Read on to learn more about zucchini and how to cook with it.
Why Is Zucchini So Popular in Lower-Carb Diets?
Zoodles (spiralized zucchini or zucchini shaved into thick "noodles" with a vegetable peeler) are wildly popular as a real-food pasta or noodle replacement. Zucchini is popular in many low-carb recipes for good reason.
One large zucchini contains:
- 55 calories
- 10 grams of carbs
- 6.8 grams of net carbs (net carbs = total carbs minus fiber)
- 1 gram of fat
- 5 grams of protein
One serving of zoodles is about two medium spiralized zucchini, or one very large zucchini.
Compare that to a serving of regular pasta (about 2 ounces dry pasta); depending on the brand and shape of the pasta, can contain:
- 212 calories
- 43 grams of carbs (41 grams of net carbs)
- 1 gram of fat
- 7 grams of protein
You can keep things keto or Primal/paleo as long as you use zucchini as a stand-in for grains and combine this summer vegetable with keto- and Primal/paleo-friendly ingredients such as nut flours (instead of all-purpose flour), sweeteners such as monk fruit, Swerve or fruit for real-food sweetness (try pitted dates, ripe bananas, unsweetened apple sauce)—just be cautious that a lot of added fruit can increase the carbs in your recipe.
How to Cook with Zucchini
Zucchini is as versatile as cauliflower, and can be used as a substitute for pasta, grains like rice or cous cous (in stuffed peppers, for example), and as a stand-in for potatoes (see our recipe below for zucchini fries). Because of its high water content, zucchini can also be used to add moisture in baking applications such as muffins, cakes, quick breads (check out our recipe for easy zucchini bread, below) in similar ways that bakers use fruit purees or yogurt. In recipes where extra moisture isn't the desired effect, home cooks should be mindful that zucchini does release a lot of water when it's heated. For example, if you're using zoodles as a substitute for pasta, make sure to drain the zucchini noodles after you cook them before you add sauce and other ingredients to your "pasta" dish.
Zucchini Bread Recipe
Time: 75 minutes
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 3/4 cup monk fruit sweetener
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 scoops Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Mix first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add whisked eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.
- Before you add the shredded zucchini to the other ingredients, place shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel. Ring out all of the water from the zucchini.
- Add drained zucchini to the bowl, and stir to combine.
- Line a bread mold with parchment paper so that the paper sticks up about 1 inch on either side of the bread mold (makes it easier to remove the zucchini bread one it's baked). Pour bread batter into the bread mold.
- Bake the bread for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and, using the parchment paper handles, remove the bread from the mold.
- Allow bread to cool before slicing.
Nutrition info (per serving: 1 slice):
Carbs: 13 grams
Net Carbs: 4 grams
Fat: 25 grams
Protein: 10 grams
Zucchini Fries Recipe
Time: 40 minutes
- 2 zucchini
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon Italian dried herbs
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup Primal Kitchen Rosemary Garlic Vegan Mayo or Primal Kitchen Ketchup, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Cut the ends off of each zucchini. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, and cut each half into quarters. Cut each zucchini quarter into matchsticks (the size and shape of fries).
- Add 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, dried herbs, garlic powder, almond flour, and salt to a bowl or glass container.
- In a separate bowl or glass container, whisk together eggs with a fork until they are well combined.
- Dip each zucchini matchstick in the eggs a few times, then dip into the cheese and flour mixture a few times until well coated. Place the zucchini fries on a parchment-lined baking sheet spaced apart in one layer. Repeat coating process until all matchsticks are coated.
- Bake zucchini fries for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with Primal Kitchen Rosemary Garlic Vegan Mayo or Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup.
Nutrition info (per serving)*:
Carbs: 12 grams
Fat: 20 grams
Protein: 10 grams
*Nutrition info includes 2 tablespoons of Primal Kitchen Rosemary Garlic Vegan Mayo.
Zucchini Boats Recipe
Time: 50 minutes
- 3 zucchini
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 cup Primal Kitchen Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Cut off stem top and bottom bit of zucchini. Cut zucchini in half length-wise. Scoop out the inside of the zucchini halves to make zucchini boats.
- Heat avocado oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is warm, add zucchini meat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ground beef to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until browned (about 8–10 minutes). Add Tomato Basil Marinara to skillet, and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place the zucchini halves, boat side up, in an oven-safe casserole dish. Brush with 1 teaspoon avocado oil, and season with salt and pepper. Fill zucchini boats with meat mixture until reasonably full (you may have a little filling leftover).
- Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Remove and garnish with parsley.
Nutrition info (per serving: 2 zucchini boats):
Carbs: 17 grams
Fat: 31 grams
Protein: 35 grams
How to Make Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)
As a guide, use approximately 4 cups of Spiralized Zucchini noodles with desired sauce to make 2 servings. Use 2 medium-sized zucchini, ends trimmed, and cut in half.
Stand Mixer Method: Attach Spiralizer attachment to your stand mixer. Center one zucchini section on the fruit and vegetable skewer; attach to spiralizer. Attach fine spiralizing blade and position at the end of zucchini. Place a medium-size bowl under the blade to catch the spiralized zucchini. Turn stand mixer to speed 4 and process until blade reaches the end of the zucchini. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
Spiralizer Method: Center zucchini piece on the skewer attached to the spiralizer. Attach the size spiralizing blade that you want (depending on how thick you would like your noodles), and position at the end of the zucchini. Place a bowl at the end of the spiralizer to catch the zoodles. Turn the crank to spiralize the zucchini. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles
To cook zucchini noodles, place in boiling, salted (optional) water for 45 seconds. Drain and place in ice water to stop cooking. When chilled, drain the zucchini noodles.
Zucchini noodles may also be cooked in a skillet on the stove; add about a tablespoon of avocado oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini noodles to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Drain any water in the skillet before adding other ingredients to the skillet, and before adding sauce.
Zoodles with Alfredo Sauce
Time: 7 minutes
- 4 cups zoodles
- 1 tablespoon Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
- 1/2 cup Primal Kitchen No Dairy Alfredo Sauce
- Optional additions: Cooked broccoli florets, cooked sliced mushrooms, fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add avocado oil; when oil is warm, add zoodles and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain any excess water in the skillet.
- Add alfredo sauce to the skillet, stirring well to combine with the zoodles. Heat sauce for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with any optional cooked ingredients, such as broccoli, sliced mushrooms, or baked chicken.
Nutrition info (per serving)*:
Carbs: 10 grams
Fat: 12 grams
Protein: 3 grams
*Nutrition info includes zoodles, avocado oil, and Primal Kitchen No Dairy Alfredo Sauce only.
All nutrition information calculated using Cronometer.