Its hard to miss this summer classic as you stroll
through the farmers market.
Being a big fan of zucchini and while the variety of squash is at its peak nutritional value, its also nearly impossible for me not to grab some and add to my market haul. With summer squash, there are endless possibilities and it gets my culinary/recipe development brain a churning (yes, I shamelessly geek out on summer produce! - meal prep party anyone?). I am thinking going beyond the zoodles phenomenon however, to baked goods, "rice," smoothies and "ribbon" noodles because if you want a side dish that is low in calorie, has great flavor and chock full of nutrients, then summer squash is where it's at.
reboot with summer
squash + zucchini
Even though zucchini is a high water content vegetable (95% water to be exact), it is a great source of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Just one ½ cup of cooked zucchini will add 15 calories and boost your diet with these health benefits:
- Weight loss
- Lower Cholesterol
- Cancer Prevention
- Improved Prostate Health
- Anti-inflammatory Benefits including: asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Decreased Risk for a Heart Attack or Stroke
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Blood Sugar Control
How to Choose the best Squash at the farmers market
It's best to buy a zucchini or summer squash that is no longer than 10 inches. Larger ones tend to be tougher and bland, where as smaller, younger ones have more flavor and more tender. Look for firm, heavy-feeling zucchini with unblemished bright and glossy skin.
RD PREP TIP: Since 95% of zucchini is water, when it’s cooked, water will ooze out. Therefore, I recommend salting the zucchinis first when preparing it and then allow the excess water to get drained out before the preparation is done. Also, try not to remove the skin of the squash or zuchinni because it comprises the important nutrient beta-carotene, the vitamin component acting as an antioxidant thereby protecting cells from oxidation damage.
Ask the RD: how do you like to eat zucchini?
I love zucchini because its such a versatile vegetable. You can slice, chop, grate, "rice," ribbon or spiralize into almost anything for added nutrition. My favorite ways are to add it raw with the skin on (to retain the most nutrients) and spiralized into salads for a fun texture, sneak them into baked goods like breads and muffins to make them extra moist (because of its high water content), use to layer my lasagna for a low calorie alternative, or add frozen zucchini slices into my morning smoothies! Adding summer squash to your smoothie may sound weird but, frozen zucchini or summer squash makes your smoothie super thick, creamy and incorporates more fiber and nutrients without the added sugar you'd get from adding more frozen fruit. I promise, you wont taste the zucchini with all of your other smoothie ingredients mixed in. Also, freezing your farmers market produce retains the nutrients of the produce at its peak value and helps to eliminate food waste! Don't knock it till you try it!
farmers market ribbon salad with salmon
Combining all of your favorite famers market finds into one beautifully vibrant and flavorful Summer salad.
Recipe By Dietitian: Taylor Johnson, RD, LDN
Recipe Type: lunch or dinner
Dietary restrictions this recipe meets: gluten Free, paleo
Dietary Substitutions: omit the salmon to make this recipe vegetarian and omit the greek yogurt (replace with avocado) to make this dish vegan and dairy free.
- Place the spring greens on the bottom of a large serving platter or bowl.
- I took the carrot, yellow squash and zucchini, and shaved them into delicate ribbons with a vegetable peeler. I suggest you cut the ends of the zucchini off first, then gently peel lengthwise until you hit the seeds and middle, which will become thin and watery if you ribbon. When you’re done, the middle should be in a stout, squared column that you can chop, slice up or "rice" it to use for other dishes!
- Arrange the ribboned vegetables and remaining sliced vegetables on top, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and corn.
- Top salad with grilled salmon (optional). I like to sauté my salmon with a little bit of EVOO, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper in my cast iron skillet at med/high heat for about 4 minutes on each side!
- Drizzle cilantro lime dressing overtop of salad. Reboot and enjoy!
For the dressing:
- Combine everything into your food processor or blender, and blend to combine. Add the yogurt, or 1/2 fresh avocado. Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Shake well before use. Reboot and enjoy!
- 8 oz. spring mix greens
- 1 small or medium zucchini, ribboned
- 1 small or medium yellow squash, ribboned
- 1 medium or large carrot, ribboned
- 1.5 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1-2 ear(s) of corn, shucked and cleaned, grilled, with the kernels cut off the cob
- Optional: 2 wild Alaskan salmon filets, pan grilled
- salt + pepper to taste
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Freshly squeezed lime juice from 2 limes
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp. pure honey
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (substitute this for 1/2 avocado to make DF/Vegan)
XO - ROOTS REBOOT
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