Contributed by food blogger Aggie Goodman.
(CBS) It's been hard for me to leave the grocery store or farmer's market without a nice bunch of zucchini lately. It's just looking so good right now at the peak of its season that it's not easy to pass up. Before I know it, the produce drawer is jam packed full of summer veggies and they are all begging to be cooked up.
There are lots of great ways to prepare zucchini...grilled, sauteed, stir-fried, even baked in sweets! These are all definitely no-fail ways to enjoy the vegetable, but sometimes you just want a little more, without too much additional fuss.
Summer Vegetable Gratin is a delicious, yet simple, way to clear out that vegetable drawer - nice slices of zucchini, summer squash, sweet onion and peak tomatoes... all happily baked together along with some fresh basil, olive oil and a nice garlicky breadcrumb topping. Pair alongside some grilled Italian-herbed chicken for a healthful summer meal.
And for those times you are feeling snacky, try these Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks to munch on. They take a few steps to prepare, but are so worth it knowing they are baked - not fried - and can be enjoyed with a little dunk of your favorite marinara sauce.
Summer Vegetable Gratin
2-3 large zucchini, sliced at slight angle 1/4" thick
2 summer squash, sliced at slight angle 1/4" thick
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9x13 glass casserole dish with non-stick spray to prevent sticking.
Prepare vegetables by slicing zucchini and summer squash at a slight angle, about 1/4" thick. Slice onions and halve cherry tomatoes. Put vegetables and basil sin a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine. Add vegetables in layers to casserole dish.
In small bowl, combine minced garlic, panko and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture over top of vegetable casserole.
Bake in 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are soft and bread topping is golden.
Serves 8: Calories 100, Total Fat 4.9 g, Saturated Fat 1.3 g , Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g, Monounsaturated Fat 2.9 g, Cholesterol 3.3 mg, Sodium 164.9 mg, Total Carbohydrate 11.7 g, Dietary Fiber 2.4 g, Sugars 2.3 g, Protein 3.7 g
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
3 large zucchini, sliced longways, halved and cut into sticks
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
Olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray olive oil spray on large baking sheet. Set aside.
Slice zucchini into long planks. Cut planks in half then slice long into sticks.
In large shallow bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, set aside. In large shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic powder.
Working with 3-4 zucchini sticks at a time, start breading process by dunking and completely covering zucchini with egg mixture. Take zucchini sticks out of egg mixture, allowing an extra egg to drip off, and place into breadcrumb mixture. Gently coat the zucchini stick completely with breadcrumb mixture. Place breaded zucchini stick onto baking sheet.
Continue this process until all zucchini sticks are breaded and on baking sheet. Spray each zucchini stick with olive oil spray and place into 425 degree oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Using a spatula, flip each zucchini stick and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
Serves 6: Calories 86.1, Total Fat 3.9 g, Saturated Fat 1.4 g , Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g, Cholesterol 74.1 mg, Sodium 164.7 mg, Total Carbohydrate 7.1 g, Dietary Fiber 0.5 g, Sugars 0.6 g, Protein 5.2 g
Nutrition Note: Avoid boxed breadcrumbs that are already seasoned, they are usually high in sodium. Stick to plain breadcrumbs and season them yourself with your favorite spices and not all the additional salt.
Aggie Goodman is a food blogger, stay-at-home mom and domestic engineer, who spends a lot of time in the kitchen creating healthy meals (and occasional treats) for family and friends. Her food blog, Aggie's Kitchen, is two years old and, she hopes, an inspiration for people to get in their kitchens and cook.