Zucchini are at their best by mid to late summer. This also goes for yellow squash, patty pan squash, and grey squash, a plant family collectively known as the summer squashes.
All you gardeners out there know that there's a fine line between summer squashes and winter squashes (pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, etc.) They're so closely related that they can interbreed if you're not careful! And if you let summer squash ripen too long on the vine, it'll grow a hard shell and a dense belly of seeds, just like winter squash, but at that point, zucchini becomes mealy and a little mushy.
Meanwhile, winter squash, despite its name, is actually grown throughout the summer and early fall, and it gets its name because it can easily be stored throughout the winter in root cellars where, unlike summer squash, it becomes sweeter, riper, and even more delicious.
One of my favorite summer veggies is zucchini, and my favorite way to prepare it is as zoodles AKA zucchini noodles! This recipe adds a Mediterranean twist to them by adding garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil.
Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles
Serves: 2 to 3
- 2 tbsp avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee, or other healthy fat
- 4 medium zucchini or yellow squash, spiralized (buy pre-spiraled if you don't have a spiralizer or julienne cutter at home)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (or a homemade medley of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
- Two handfuls of fresh basil, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 1/2 lemon (optional)
1. In a small pan, heat the pine nuts over low heat. Watch them carefully and jostle the pan to toast them evenly. When the pine nuts are fragrant and all sides are brown, remove from stove and set aside.
2. Spiralize the zucchini using a spiralizer or a julienne cutter. Cut off the ends but leave the skin on. Add the oil to a large pan and saute garlic on medium heat for about two minutes.
2. Add zucchini noodles and spices to pan. Stir well. Sautee on medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the pine nuts and basil into the zucchini noodles and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze juice from 1/4 to 1/2 a lemon if desired. Touch up with more salt and pepper if needed, and enjoy!