Pasta With Italian Style Zucchini…Healthy and Delicious!
What’s the Difference Between Zucchini and Squash?
What is the difference between zucchini and squash? Many of us use the words interchangeably, but the two are not exactly the same. Zucchini is actually part of the squash family. Zucchini is often referred to as “summer squash” because it is harvested in August and September. Squash is normally harvested in late fall. The “pumpkin” is also part of the squash family. Both zucchini and squash were originally grown in North America, but zucchini was cultivated in Italy, which is where it got its name.
Italian Zucchini and Tomato Recipe
There are many ways you can cook zucchini, including frying, baking and roasting. It can also be simmered and cooked on the stove with diced tomatoes, basil and other seasoning to create an Italian dish that I know too well called Italian Zucchini.
- 1 ½ - 2 lbs. zucchini, yellow or green
- ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes, or a large tomato, finely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh, chopped basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 glove chopped garlic, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion, or ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, (I recommend Filippo Berio Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil)
- Dash salt
- Dash black pepper
- 1 lb. pasta, (I suggest wide rigatoni, or penne)
- Optional ingredients: tomato sauce, and grated romano/parmesan cheese
- Fill large pot of water to boil (for pasta).
- In large pan, add 2 teaspoons olive oil, chopped zucchini, tomatoes, and seasonings. Mix gently.
- Simmer on stove using medium to low setting, for approximately 15-20 minutes. Periodically mix with care. Zucchini should be tender but not mushy.
- While zucchini is cooking, add pasta to boiled water, stir and cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente.
- Warm up some of your favorite tomato sauce, if desired for topping. Otherwise, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to pasta to prevent sticking.
- To serve, add pasta on flat dish, and top with cooked zucchini and tomatoes.
- Top with chopped or dry basil, and if desired, add a little tomato sauce and grated cheese,
Count Your Healthy Calories (Nutrition Information is Estimated)
|Serving size: 5-6 oz. (pasta and zucchini)|
|Calories from Fat||72|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 8 g||12%|
|Carbohydrates 50 g||17%|
|Sugar 8 g|
|Fiber 4 g||16%|
|Protein 9 g||18%|
|Sodium 250 mg||10%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Note About Nutrition Content
Note: To estimate nutrition content, I used an app called MyFitnessPal. I calculated each of the ingredients, including sauteed zucchini, olive oil and pasta, estimating the amount, and tabulated the total amount. Please use the nutrition content only as a guide.
Other Dinner Ideas
Compliment your dinner with a colorful strawberry garden salad, including:
- Spring mix and iceberg letter
- Mini carrots
- Chopped strawberries
- Sliced cucumbers
- Chopped red onion
- Low-calorie dressing (Suggestion: I like Seven Seas Italian Dressing mix that you make yourself in a cruet; I use half the oil and add extra water instead to save calories, and it’s still delicious!)
Another Quick Dinner Idea: Rainbow Vegetables Over Pasta
Another quick dinner recipe is mixed vegetables over pasta. I call this dish, Rainbow Vegetables Over Pasta.Use the same ingredients and instructions except instead of the zucchini and tomatoes, use a colorful mix of chopped vegetables. I like to buy already chopped fresh vegetables from my supermarket and sauteed half to top over angel hair pasta.
Whatever vegetable you prepare, consider using “fresh” ingredients rather than frozen or canned ingredients for the best tasting, healthiest dishes.
Dinner is served!
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Note: This is Hub #13 of 30 of my 30 Hubs in 30 Days Challenge.