So, I hate zucchini…in my life of cooking I have found few ways of roasting, baking, sauteing or grilling zucchini that did not make me gag. However, zucchini grows so easily that I find myself growing it in my garden just to feel the success of actually seeing something bear fruit. I am on a mission to figure out ways to use this fruit (I know, I always thought is was a veggie too). A few weeks ago my mom gifted to me a basket of zucchini that a friend had grown and I committed myself to utilizing the nutritious garden-grown squash instead of letting it sit in my fridge until it grew limp and moldy as I have done so many times before. Below is a kick-butt recipe that I stole from Babycakes NYC, an awesome New York bakery that caters to vegan, dairy and gluten free folks. Thanks to my stepmom who gifted the cookbook to me last year, my kids have munched on many of their healthy treats in lieu of Oreo cookies and store-bought muffins. So, below you will find their zucchini muffin recipe. For the last couple of weeks I have shredded zucchini, yellow squash and carrots at the beginning of the week and used the mix for muffins and then used the remainder to make pancakes each morning for the kids. This is a great way to add some extra nutrition to breakfast and it is super easy. For every cup of pancake mix (I use organic fiber or gluten-free from Bob’s red mill…which by the way is a local company in Milwaukie, OR and is worth the trip for a million reasons, one of my favorites being that Dave’s Killer bread is across the street and you can get their organic bread for half the price that you will find in the grocery store, buy 4 loaves and freeze three and you are set for a month on bread for $12.) Anyway, rambling aside, add 3/4 cup shredded zucchini for each cup of pancake mix. I then add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp ground ginger plus 1/4 cup flax-seed meal. I top the pancakes with real maple syrup and sometimes some fruit and call it good. On to the muffins….note that likely you will not have all of these ingredients lying around. Don’t be afraid….New Seasons or Freddies health section has all of the ingredients and you better just get acquainted with them if you are reading this blog because they will come up time and time again. After the zucchini muffins I am going to add a quick summer spaghetti idea in case you don’t know what to do for dinner (this one is for you, Gina)!
Babaycakes NYC Zucchini Muffins
2 c spelt or gluten-free flour
1/2 c flax meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 c coconut oil ( this need to be warmed on the stove to liquefy before adding to the mix
3/4 c rice milk ( I have also used almond and coconut)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 c shredded zucchini
(BTW if you add vegan chocolate chips (for dairy free) or regular chocolate chips, this becomes an after dinner treat for kids)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Mix all dry ingredients then add wet ingredients to the dry mixture. Fold in zucchini with a spatula. Fill your paper lined muffin tin with 1/3 cup batter which should just about fill them up. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes then rotate 180 degrees and bake for 7 more minutes. Done!
Fun facts about zucchini: This food is low in Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.
Summer Spaghetti – I cook organically so all of this is organic but it is up to you so i am not going to write organic before all of the ingredients.
I box penne – I use quinoa penne pasta to avoid gluten (more about quinoa below)
3 medium size tomatoes – stemmed
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste (New Seasons now has this is a small jar so you can re-seal the lid instead of opening one of those little cans and only using a tiny bit and letting the rest go bad.)
4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
2 garlic cloves
6 basil leaves
1/2 c olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook your pasta, puree all of the other ingredients in a food processor or blender. You can alter the taste of this recipe a bit by adding other italian herbs. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and mix the puree with the pasta and serve. I also like to chop up some fresh spinach and mix it in at the end. Great with a little fresh parmesan if you do the dairy thing!
Tomato fun facts: Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.
Quinoa – So, I use quinoa instead of pasta because it is gluten-free and a good source of protein. The actual seed is great and we eat it regularly but what I like about the pasta is that it has a good consistency and does not get slimy like rice pasta. Bon Appetit!