Is your garden overflowing with zucchini?
This week, I’m talking all things zucchini as we near the end of zucchini season.
Cooking with the seasons guarantees that you’ll have fresh, tasty and healthy dishes. Have you ever noticed how bright the colors are when you pick in season fruit and vegetables? The vibrant deep colors are always what inspire my dishes. I start with the vegetable, then pick a protein and starch to pair and lastly layer in aromatics and herbs.
By the end of zucchini season, I know most gardens are over flowing with the green versatile veggie. I love zucchini because it’s a one stop shop type of vegetable, a true chameleon that can change it’s shape to act as a starch, vegetable, fruit and anything else in between. Add it as noodles to your favorite pasta sauce, cut it small and cook it to resemble risotto, shred and add to your favorite fall muffin, fry cut for baked “fries”, small dice for salads, the list seriously goes on forever! The deep green outside and tender inside provides the perfect crunch and texture balance in every dish. Did you know that in the culinary world zucchini is considered a vegetable but botanically is actually considered a fruit?!
For this week’s recipe, I’ve created a Warm Farro Salad with Zucchini, Feta and Mint. The zucchini is lightly sautéed to keep it’s crunch and pairs well with the faro and feta for a tangy salty bite. The balance between the nutty farro, zucchini and mint with just a touch of lemon has such a bright flavor you’ll be craving this salad months after zucchini season is over.
Besides being versatile as a vegetable, did you know zucchini is more than a culinary chameleon? As you might have guessed it’s packed with nutrition. My PR/Marketing guru who is also Registered Dietitian, Becca Noren, is here to chat about why zucchini is not just versatile from a cooking standpoint, but from a nutrition stance as well. As always, look out for the #EatWellWithMing tips before each recipe and on Simply Ming recipes. They are full of fun nutrition tips and tricks that will keep you in the know for all things nutrition!
Notes from Becca-
Thanks Chef! I second that zucchini is not just a culinary chameleon but is also loaded with nutrients. One thing to keep in mind is to avoid peeling the zucchini because most of the nutrients are actually in the skin. Zucchini is low in calories and carbohydrates, high in vitamins including vitamin b6, riboflavin, folate, vitamin c, vitamin k and high in minerals potassium and manganese. Plus, when paired with farro, you get a super dose of good fiber from both the zucchini and faro!
Eat Well With Ming Cooking Tip-For a low carbohydrate dish, spiralize or small dice your zucchini and sub for pasta or rice. Sauté with ½-1 teaspoon oil to take the rawness out, but careful not to overcook so that it doesn’t become mushy.
Warm Farro Salad with Zucchini, Feta and Mint
Serves 4 as a side dish
½ cup farro
2 zucchini, halved and quartered
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil to cook
8-10 mint leaves, chiffonade saving a few pieces for garnish
¼ cup crumbed feta
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1. In a sauce pan, combine farro with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and cover. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat once all liquid has been absorbed.
2. In a sauté pan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Heat gently on medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté until it starts to caramelize, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and sauté until the zucchini just tarts to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside. Be careful not to overcook as you don’t want soggy zucchini.
3. In a serving bowl, combine the cooked farro, zucchini, feta, mint, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon olive oil to coat. Mix gently so that all flavors are combined.
4. Garnish with lemon zest and last few pieces of mint and enjoy.
Peace and Good Eating,
Chef Ming Tsai
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