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Our Blog: August 3, 2023

Zucchini: A Summertime Favorite

Zucchini is this month’s MVP of the garden!
August is typically a big harvest season for the abundant and versatile veggie. Because of this, it’s easy and inexpensive to add to your family’s summertime meals.

If you aren’t growing your own, grab some from the grocery store or farmers’ market. When selecting the vegetable, choose a medium-sized zucchini that feels firm without soft spots. It can come in various sizes, shapes, and colors but the most popular version tends to be dark green. Of note, very large zucchinis do lose some flavor and are best for baking.

Zucchini is a type of summer squash. It contains small amounts of many different nutrients including vitamin C, B6, potassium, folate, iron, calcium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and thiamine. Zucchini is particularly high in vitamin A, especially when cooked, which supports your vision and immune system.

Zucchini can be prepared in many ways or even enjoyed raw! Here are some quick ideas for how to incorporate it into more of your meals:

  • Add it raw to salads
  • Shred and add to egg dishes
  • Stew it with other veggies or add it to soup
  • Stuff it and bake it
  • Add it to your favorite stir-fry
  • Grill or sauté it as a side dish
  • Spiralize it or slice it thinly as a pasta replacement
  • Add it to bread or muffin batter

Providing early veggie variety is key to raising adventurous, healthy eaters. Through exposure, we now know kids can learn to LOVE vegetables. We hope you’ll support the Veggies Early & Often effort by being a role model for your children through cooking and eating a balanced, plant-forward diet. We love the popular Whole-Grain Apple Zucchini Muffins on the school menu!

Give zucchini a try at home with one of these delicious, Grow Fit-approved recipes:

Sauteed Lemony Zoodles, Serves 4-6

3 medium zucchinis
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
⅓ tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. basil
1 lemon


  1. Slice cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters.
  2. Using a vegetable spiralizer, spiralize the zucchini into long curly pieces. If you do not have one, you can cut the zucchini into matchsticks or use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips.  
  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of oil and the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is translucent. 
  4. Add the zucchini noodles (zoodles) and cook, stirring frequently until they soften.   
  5. Add the tomatoes and herbs.  
  6. Cut the lemon in half.
  7. For young assistants: Have them juice the lemon and add the lemon juice to the pan.  
  8. Cover and turn down to low heat. Let the tomatoes steam until softened, approximately 2 minutes before serving.

Sweet Corn & Zucchini Pie, Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion
2 ears sweet corn, cooked
2 medium zucchinis
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese                                     
4 eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (350 for convection ovens).
  2. Slice the onions and zucchini.
  3. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms to the skillet.
  5. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. 
  6. Add them to the mixture and continue cooking the vegetables for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are soft. Remove from heat.   
  7. For young assistants: Have them crack the eggs into a small bowl. Beat the eggs with a fork. Stir in the basil, oregano, cheese, and eggs into the veggie mix.
  8. Line a pie plate with parchment paper or grease it with nonstick spray. Pour the mixture in.
  9. Cover with greased foil and bake for 20 minutes. 
  10. Remove foil and let bake for an additional 5 minutes. 
  11. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.  

Zucchini Pizza Boats, Serves 4

Ingredients:4 small zucchinis
1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. pepper
½ cup low-sodium tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (375 for convection ovens). 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. For young assistants: Have them scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Arrange the zucchini cut side up onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle with oil and season with garlic powder and pepper.
  5. For young assistants: Have them mix tomato sauce with oregano and basil in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture into each zucchini boat then top with shredded mozzarella cheese and any toppings of your own choice.
  6. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until the zucchini are fork-tender and the cheese is bubbly.

 Topping Suggestions: Diced chicken, sliced mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, baby spinach, diced peppers, fresh herbs, pineapple, etc. 

*These recipes are veggie-forward and approved by the Partnership for a Healthier America to meet the Veggies Early & Often guidelines. Approved between 6/30/2023 and 7/3/2023.
About the Author

Nicole Spain, MS, RDN

Childhood nutrition has been Nicole’s passion for more than 20 years. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a Master of Science (MS) in Nutrition and Dietetics from Northern Illinois University. During her career with Learning Care Group (LCG), Nicole has assisted with developing and implementing the company’s proprietary Grow Fit program. Through her curated menus, the healthy lifestyle initiative positively impacts approximately 100,000 children daily in LCG’s 1,050+ schools. She aided in the rollout of the Veggies Early & Often campaign in 2021 and helped LCG be recognized as the 2017 Partner of the Year by the Partnership for a Healthier America. Since 2004, she’s also been an active Junior League member and developed the Kids in the Kitchen program for their Detroit and Milwaukee chapters. Nicole and her husband, John, have three children. In her spare time, Nicole competes on a rowing team with the Detroit Boat Club Crew.