Summer is upon us, and what a great time to think about increasing your vegetable intake! Farmer’s markets offer delicious, locally grown veggies of your choosing, or you can enroll in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that will hand pick for you each week! Summer is a great time to think about including zucchini in your diet! This delicious summer squash grows easily and is packed full of nutrients and can be used in a variety of ways! In addition to providing ample Vitamin A, zucchini is a high in antioxidants which can benefit your eyes, skin, heart, and even help prevent cancer. While this vegetable may occasionally make an appearance on your dinner plate as a side, check out these 8 creative ways to incorporate even more zucchini into your diet!

1. Cut up raw and add to salads or sandwiches! We generally think of zucchini as a cooked vegetable, but adding it raw can boost the taste and texture of your summer salad or add some variety to a bland sandwich!

2. Boil it and blend into soups. While soup might not be your first choice in the summer months, zucchini cooks down very nicely and adds a nice creaminess to root vegetable soups. In the summer months, you could even serve a zucchini soup chilled for a more refreshing meal or snack!

3. Add olive oil and sauté. Zucchini cooks down so nicely and makes a great addition to stir-fry. Or simply sauté and serve as a side to your main course!

4. Throw it on the grill! If you like to utilize that grill as much as possible in the summer months, zucchini is the perfect choice! Throw on skewers, or simply cut into slices and throw in a grill basket with some oil and garlic. Grilled zucchini strips make an excellent healthy alternative to fries to accompany your grilled chicken or burgers.

3. Add olive oil and sauté. Zucchini cooks down so nicely and makes a great addition to stir-fry. Or simply sauté and serve as a side to your main course!

4. Throw it on the grill! If you like to utilize that grill as much as possible in the summer months, zucchini is the perfect choice! Throw on skewers, or simply cut into slices and throw in a grill basket with some oil and garlic. Grilled zucchini strips make an excellent healthy alternative to fries to accompany your grilled chicken or burgers.

5. Replace your pasta! Zucchini can be spiralized to replace spaghetti or sliced thin to replace lasagna noodles. Try your favorite pasta dishes using zucchini instead!

6. Bake it into breads, muffins, or cakes. Zucchini adds a nice texture and moisture to some of your favorite baked goods and can boost the nutritional value. It’s easy to find recipes online on how to incorporate zucchini into your baking.

7. Add it to your morning eggs. Scrambled eggs and omelets are a great way to boost your vegetable intake. You can add just about anything to them, including zucchini, to really optimize your morning meal!

8. Stuff it! By cutting in half long-ways and cutting out the seeds, you create zucchini boats that can be stuffed with just about anything! Try using rice, lentils, meat, other vegetables, or some kind of combination! This makes for a quick, easy, and healthy summertime meal! Check out our recipe for an example of delicious stuffed zucchini boats!

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