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Can I Eat Raw Zucchini? Safety, Nutrition, and Recipes

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Zucchini is totally underrated. It’s a soft summer squash that tastes delicious when you grill, sauté, or fry it. But what about eating raw zucchini? Is this legitimate or is it harmful to your health?

We’re sizzling the science of whether you have to cook zucchini every 👏🏽 and time.

Many people have never tried raw zucchini because they don’t know if they are safe to eat. But you absolutely can!

Its mild taste is super refreshing in salads, especially with lots of lemon and fresh herbs. The trick is to cut them into thin slices so that they are easier to eat. (Game changer! 😱)

The Effects of Eating Raw Zucchini

As a species, we cook food to make it more digestible. Unlike some of our animal pals (they’re looking at you, four-stomachs cow), our digestive system can’t cope with a lot of weed.

But there are many different types of vegetables that can be munched raw, and zucchini is one of them. In fact, eating some vegetables raw can help maintain their essential minerals and nutrients (some of which, like you, don’t want to be cooked either).

Take this 2018 study that looked at how different cooking methods affected the nutritional value of different vegetables. It found that cooking vegetables can remove some water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C.

A diet that includes both raw * and * cooked vegetables is the way to go. That means you are getting the best of both worlds.

Unlike other types of pumpkin, zucchini have soft skin that is easy to digest. The skin, flowers, and seeds are all edible.

Eating the skin also adds to your daily fiber intake. A large zucchini (including the skin) has about 3 grams of the stuffing.

Do you have to peel zucchini?

You don’t have to peel the zucchini’s skin off, but some recipes may require you to peel them off. It just depends on what you are using it for.

Carotenoids are a great reason to eat zucchini with your skin on. These molecules (responsible for the color of various fruits and vegetables) could have links to reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and eye diseases.

Although these green summer squash are primarily used as a vegetable, they are technically a fruit. (Yes, you were years old today when you learned …) Like most fruits, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are downright good for you.

Here’s a tutorial on how swallowing zucchini can improve your health.

Vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants

Zucchini is full of it. There’s plenty of potassium your body needs for … well … pretty much everything, including kidney and heart function, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission.

There is also a good dose of the super antioxidant vitamin C. It plays an important role in the formation of collagen, an essential part of connective tissue. This plays a super important role in wound healing.

In addition, thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties, vitamin C could help prevent or delay the development of certain types of cancer and diseases.

Fiber

With 3 grams in a large zucchini, there is plenty of fiber to help you meet your recommended daily allowance.

Zucchini contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help maintain regular bowel movements. (And who doesn’t want to poop well?)

Soluble fiber also helps nourish your gut microbiome, and you want to really make those people down there happy. Treat them properly, and the bacteria in your gut could play an important role in regulating your metabolism, kicking your immune system, and protecting you from disease.

So, yes, fiber. Do it.

Blood sugar level

We all know that in general, eating more fruits and vegetables is a good thing. But it’s hard to overestimate the positive impact these guys have on your health, and that includes blood sugar.

A meta-analysis from 2016 showed that a higher consumption of fruits, berries and fibrous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Zucchini is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber – a winning combination for keeping blood sugar levels constant.

Promotes weight loss

Another meta-analysis from 2016 showed that the consumption of foods with a lower energy density is associated with reduced body weight.

Zucchini is low in calories but high in water and fiber. It can help you feel full longer while controlling your caloric intake.

Good eye health

The most common form of vitamin A found in foods and supplements is beta-carotene. It is an essential nutrient that supports healthy eyesight, the immune system, and reproduction.

Zucchini also provides the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids found in the retina and the wider visual system. There is evidence from studies to suggest that consuming plenty of foods containing these compounds may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Raw zucchini is generally very safe to eat, but there are a few potential wibbles to watch out for.

Occasionally you will find a zucchini that is very bitter. This could indicate high levels of cucurbitacins – compounds in some vegetables that can be poisonous.

But the zucchini you get from your grocery store is very unlikely to be toxic. Commercial strains are specially bred to avoid this.

Although extremely rare, some people are also allergic to zucchini and other types of pumpkin. It’s not fully understood why some people develop this allergy, but it can happen.

If you’ve had allergic reactions to other pumpkins, it may be best to avoid zucchini. You can speak to your doctor to schedule a test that will show you whether it is safe for you or not.

How to tell if zucchini has gone bad

A fresh zucchini bought in the supermarket can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Sounds like a long time, but it’s true!

As with any other fruit or vegetable, there are a few tell-tale signs that a zucchini is past its prime:

  • Can you see mold?
  • Does it smell really bad?
  • Has it really gotten soft?
  • Is it wet or leaking?

And remember, watch out for those bitter zucchini. You could spell trouble.

Zucchini is extremely versatile and can be cooked in many different ways. Here’s how:

Fry the zucchini

  1. Preheat an oven to 390 ° F (198 ° C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut zucchini into quarter-inch rounds or crescents and drizzle generously with olive oil.
  3. Place them on the baking sheet, being careful not to overcrowd them, and season them well with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway, until golden brown and tasty!

Sauté

  • Cut the zucchini into quarter-inch rounds or crescents. If you use zucchini as the base of a sauce for pasta, you can also grate it finely.
  • Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (canola oil works here, too).
  • Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini, leaving enough space for each piece to cook evenly.
  • Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the edges are crispy and golden brown.

Grill (especially great when cooked on the grill)

  • Cut zucchini into quarter to half inch rounds or spears. (You shouldn’t cut them too thin as they are a little more fragile when grilling.)
  • Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can also add cajun seasoning or harissa if you like it spicy.
  • Place on a hot grill or grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are slightly charred and smoky.
  • Use in warm salads or for family barbecues. They’re even great as a topping on burgers!

Now that you know how to handle it, it’s time to get to work! Here are some of our favorite zucchini recipes to help you out with your dinner party game:

Raw or cooked, zucchini is an underrated fruit (really) that has serious nutritional value. It’s safe to eat raw and could even help preserve nutrients that would otherwise have been lost in cooking.

Just be careful of bitter zucchini, which could be a sign of the presence of toxins, and avoid if you have a known allergy to pumpkins. Otherwise the world is your zucchini!

Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

From tacos to wings, learning to cook with plant-based meats

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It’s that time of year when many people decide to eat less meat. The “whys” are many: sustainability and concern for the planet, health considerations, ethical concerns about dealing with animals.

An increasingly popular option is “plant-based meat,” which can be found in meat aisles from grocery stores to restaurants.

These products aim to mimic meat in taste, texture, look and smell and the similarities are now quite impressive. The ingredients usually include a plant-based protein, such as soy or pea, and sometimes other beans, wheat, or potatoes.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are the two monster names in this space, but there are dozens of brands out there. In the fresh food aisles of grocery stores, plant-based options focus on ground beef, burger patties, meatballs, and sausage. Freezer aisles have that, as well as many products designed to replicate specific dishes, like chicken nuggets, pot pies, or stir-fries.

So, how to cook at home with these products?

“The vegetarian meat is an easy substitute,” says Angela Campbell, a pescetarian living in Portland, Maine, who relies on plant-based meats to enhance her cooking. She says she can use the ground beef and imitation sausage 1:1 in recipes.

They can be used in pasta sauces, stir-fries, casseroles, fajitas, etc.

Like ground beef, plant-based crumbles are perishable, so treat them like ground beef, use within a few days, and cook thoroughly.

Many of them cook faster than their meat counterparts and seem more sensitive to precise cooking times; the packages often warn against undercooking or overcooking. So you might want to add them towards the end of preparing a dish. Most brand websites offer recipes.

Campbell says she’s had less success with the “chicken” products.

“You can’t reproduce long-simmered chicken dishes or whole-breasted dishes,” she says. “The (plant-based) chicken generally tastes best in a pan or with a separately prepared sauce. The chicken may brown, but nothing will crisp up.”

Cheyenne Cohen, a food photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, follows a vegan diet at home and says, “When I use plant-based meat, I’m never trying to replicate a meat meal perfectly. I want to learn the texture and overall flavor of each brand/variety and then experiment with preparation and seasoning until I find something that works well.”

She loves using soy crumbles as taco meat or in any other way you’d normally use ground beef, and says it’s generally easy to make the swap.

Rather than placing the meat substitutes at the center of the dish, Cohen finds them “a good recipe ingredient,” just one component.

Jade Wong, owner of Red Bamboo in New York City, has been running restaurants specializing in plant-based meats for 20 years. She says her menu caters to vegetarians and vegans looking for comfort food.

“Do you really want a salad on a cold winter’s day? Or would you rather have a chicken parmesan hero or a burger?” says Wong.

Red Bamboo makes its own plant-based meat products (100% vegetarian and 100% vegan) and sells them wholesale to other restaurants. Wong notes that many store-bought plant-based meats are pre-cooked, so they just need to be heated.

She suggests marinating soy burger patties in your favorite marinade before quickly searing them on a griddle. And cooking soy-based meat substitutes on a ridged grill pan offers the appeal of traditional grilled meat dishes.

Crumbled “sausage,” says Wong, is great as a pizza topping or, when sautéed and mixed with vegetables, as an accompaniment to pasta dishes, perhaps along with sauce and condiments.

At the restaurant, they get more creative, offering options like grilled buffalo wings, which are soy-based “chicken” wrapped in tofu (they even stick a stick in the wings to mimic the bone).

Some plant-based products are like blank slates, destined to be used in your favorite recipes. Others are prepared in a heat-and-eat manner.

Gardein has a strong presence in the frozen food department, known for its “chik’n” products; They also make homemade beefless tips that you can skewer, sauté, or stir-fry, and pork-free sweet and sour bites. Before the Butcher makes seasoned, plant-based ground meat products and patties with interesting flavor profiles like roast turkey burgers. They also make a lower-priced line of burgers under the Mainstream name, which aims to compete with beef patties not only in taste but also in price.

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Ming Tsai recently launched a line of Ming’s Bings, a treat bonanza made from ground, plant-based meats, vegetables, cheese and assorted spices, encased in brown rice paper and crispy when baked.

Some plant-based meat products are vegan, some vegetarian, some gluten-free, some dairy-free; If you have feeding problems, read the packaging carefully.

___

Katie Workman writes regularly about food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks that focus on family-friendly cooking, Dinner Solved!. and The Mama 100 Cookbook. She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.

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Celebrating Veganuary: Heart-and planet-healthy eating

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To set the momentum for the coming months, it’s important to start talking about healthy eating right at the start of the year. And a portmanteau of January and vegan, Veganuary, a global pledge to adopt a plant-based lifestyle for 31 days, does the same. This global movement is an initiative by the UK-based charity of the same name to promote vegan diets for a better planet. The movement, which was officially launched in India in December 2019, has garnered widespread interest from people across the country. A recent survey by YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm, showed that 65% of Indians are interested in replacing meat with plant-based options in 2022.

Several brands have launched vegan menus to meet the demands. “There is no denying that the pandemic has made people more aware of the consequences of their lifestyle choices on their immunity, health, mental and physical well-being. Veganism is a long-term lifestyle and cannot be limited to just one January. To cater to this new trend, we have launched a plant-based chicken biryani,” says Mohammed Bhol, chef and co-founder of Charcoal Eats. Vegan meat is made from ingredients like plant-based protein, soy, or wheat, and has the flavor and texture of real meat. “Plant-based keema is made from soy. From the keema we make kofta balls. And these mock meatballs are used in the biryani,” adds Bhol.

Healthy Vegan Jackfruit Tacos (Photo: Shutterstock)

Vegan food is considered the cleanest of all diets and isn’t lacking in flavor or variety. Uday Malhotra, executive chef and co-founder of Kneed, a bakery that operates on a cloud kitchen model, says, “We make homemade breads, rolls, cereal, nut butters, dips, hummus, and energy bars that are 100% plant-based products. Veganism is one of the dominant trends of 2022.” However, vegan baking is time-consuming and technical in terms of temperature and ingredients used. “Because vegan products don’t use dairy or eggs, the recipes formulated are time and temperature sensitive,” adds Malhotra, who suggests using Belgian dark chocolate for chocolate bread and banneton baskets to shape gluten-free loaves.

Raw Vegan Blueberry Cashew Cake (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cakes are another food category that is in high demand for vegan options. For vegan cakes, you can substitute flaxseed, ripe bananas, or aquafaba for eggs. Instead of milk, use almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk. “I suggest only using one substitute as too many of these will ruin the end product,” says Atifa Nazir Ahanger of The Boho Baker, which offers vegan cakes, cupcakes, breads and cookies. For those trying a vegan diet for the first time, it’s easier to start with substitutes like plant-based milk, nut butters like peanut butter, cashew butter, and cheese substitutes.

This movement has also seen vegan restaurants grow in popularity. “As a trend, Veganuary helps us support people in making the switch to a vegan diet. The right taste is the first step. Vegan food can be made equally tasty by appropriate swaps. We use coconut cream for our cream-based recipes. For Japanese soba noodles, we use gluten-free soba noodles, homemade peanut butter sauce, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, spring onions, zucchini, galangal, soy sauce and coconut milk,” says Rajender Chabotra, Executive Chef at Getafix Café. The restaurant also offers buckwheat pancakes, barley and bok choi bowl meals, among other vegan options.

Cauliflower Moilee is a healthy vegan recipe

Cauliflower Moilee Recipe

ingredients

Cauliflower: 1

carrot: 1

Coconut Oil: 2 tbsp

Mustard seeds: 1 tsp

Curry leaves: 10-14

Onion: 2

Ginger: 1 inch

Garlic: 12-15 pieces

Tomatoes: 3

Beans: 8-10

Green chilies: 3 to 4

Chili power, turmeric powder and cumin powder: 1 tsp each

Tamarind pulp, coconut cream: ¼ cup

Coconut milk: 1 cup

method

Heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaf and let it bubble.

Chop the onions, ginger and garlic in a blender and add the paste to the oil. Saute this for five to seven minutes.

Once the onion paste is light golden, add mashed tomatoes ground in a blender, whole green chillies, dry spices, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cumin powder and salt to taste.

Cook this mixture until you see the oil separate.

Add the tamarind pulp, coconut milk and coconut cream and stir.

Blanch the carrot, cauliflower, and beans to add to the sauce.

Cook until boiling and serve hot with steamed rice or millet.

Recipe by chef Natasha Gandhi

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ruchika Garg writes about arts and culture for the daily supplement Entertainment & Lifestyle, HT City
    …see in detail

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These recipes can make your winter snacks pop

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Looking for a tasty treat with a wide variety of flavors? Popcorn is a versatile pantry staple that can be served plain or as a better addition to your winter snacks.

With no artificial additives or preservatives, light and fluffy popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, and gluten-free, making it a sensible option for satisfying cravings for something savory, sweet, and just about every flavor in between. Plus, whole grain popcorn contains energy-producing carbohydrates and fiber that can help keep you fuller for longer.

National Popcorn Day on Wednesday, January 19 honors one of America’s oldest and most beloved snack foods, so this week is a perfect opportunity to crack open a bowl to share or indulge in whole grain culinary masterpieces like Jamaican jerk popcorn create. with pepperoni, spices and jerk butter, plus furikake popcorn, a lighter recipe that explodes with the flavors of sesame, nori and a Japanese spice blend.

You can also pair some favorite movie night flavors with Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn or Rocky Road Popcorn Clusters with Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Nuts.

Furikake popcorn

(Makes 2-3 servings)

• 6 cups of popcorn

• 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Furikake Seasoning:

• 1 sheet of nori, broken into pieces

• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, divided

• ½ teaspoon of salt

• ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar

How to Make the Furikake Seasoning: In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, finely grind nori with ½ tablespoon sesame seeds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the remaining sesame seeds, salt, and sugar.

In a large bowl, toss popcorn with butter and furikake spices until evenly coated.

Tips: Use store-bought furikake seasoning and season to taste.

To toast sesame seeds: In a small, dry skillet, cook sesame seeds over medium-high heat for two to three minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Allow to cool completely before use.

Jerk popcorn from Jamaica

(Makes 4-6 servings)

Jerk popcorn from Jamaica

(The popcorn board)

• ¼ cup butter

• 1 tablespoon chopped, seeded scotch bonnet chili pepper

• 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

• ½ teaspoon chili powder

• ½ teaspoon dried thyme

• ½ teaspoon ground allspice

• ½ teaspoon pepper

• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 8 cups of popcorn

In a small saucepan, combine butter, chili pepper, lime zest, chili powder, thyme, allspice, pepper, ginger, garlic powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, onion powder, and salt. Cook over low heat for three to five minutes, or until butter melts and mixture is fragrant.

In a large bowl, toss the popcorn with the spice mixture until evenly coated.

Tip: If desired, omit the Scotch Bonnet pepper and substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn

(Makes 6-8 1 cup servings)

Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn

Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn

(The popcorn board)

• ¼ cup low-fat parmesan cheese

• 2 teaspoons garlic powder

• ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

• ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

• ¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves

• 1/8 teaspoon dried sage

• Black pepper to taste

• 12 cups of air popped popcorn

• ¾ cup turkey peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces

• Olive oil cooking spray

In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage, and pepper and mix well.

In a large bowl, combine popcorn and turkey peppers and lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray.

Sprinkle the popcorn and pepperoni with the cheese mixture and distribute evenly.

Rocky Road Popcorn Cluster

(makes 3 dozen)

Rocky Road Popcorn Cluster

Rocky Road Popcorn Cluster

(The popcorn board)

• 1 bag (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

• 4 cups of popcorn

• 1½ cups mini marshmallows

• ¾ cup chopped walnuts

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on high for 1 minute until melted. Stir in vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, add popcorn, marshmallows, and walnuts. Pour the melted chocolate over the mixture and toss to coat.

Drop the mixture, tablespoon at a time, onto a jelly roll pan lined with wax paper.

Refrigerate until set, about two hours, or overnight.

Visit popcorn.org for more fun, fluffy, and flavorful recipes. ◆

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