Summer is peak season for zucchini recipes. This tender green summer squash has a delicate, mild flavor that’s delicious in any form, both cooked and raw. It’s the perfect veggie for a healthy diet because it blends so well with many other foods. Zucchini is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, making it the perfect low-calorie ingredient for your weight loss plan. Plus, zucchini is considered a non-starchy vegetable on the Nutrisystem weight loss plan, so you can eat as much of it as you’d like without worry.
These days, many people are trying zucchini noodles in their recipes, which you can easily make yourself with a handy spiralizer tool. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can also pick them up in the produce or frozen food sections of many grocery stores. “Zoodles” make an ideal substitute for standard pasta, which tends to be loaded with unwelcome carbs. This veggielicious alternative to pasta has the same texture and satisfying slurp-ability as other noodles.
To inspire you to take advantage of summer’s bounty of green squash, we put together this list of our favorite zucchini recipes. It includes whole meals, sides and snacks that are easy to make and just right for hot-weather eating.
Celebrate summer squash season with these 20 healthy zucchini recipes:
These easy-to-prepare chicken bites are crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. They come with a half-serving of vegetables that’s good for everyone at the table. Don’t be surprised if these nuggets become a new family favorite!
Whether you’d rather not eat meat or just want a meal that’s filling but won’t weigh you down, vegetarian meatballs are easy to make and delicious. Pair them with quick-cooking zucchini noodles and you’ve got a hearty meal that will satisfy the biggest appetite.
Mac and cheese can be a part of your healthy weight loss plan when you make it with zucchini noodles and low-fat cheese. We added some flavor and texture variety by tossing in roasted broccoli, onions and sweet potato cubes, but you can add in any non-starchy veggies you like for a high fiber boost.
Pad Thai may sound exotic, but it’s a simple dish made with lots of veggies, juicy shrimp, crunchy peanuts and sauce that’s sweet and as spicy as you like it. To cut down on the calories and excess carbs you get in the takeout variety, we used zoodles for an epic zucchini recipe that you can enjoy to your appetite’s content.
Fire up the grill and let the flames bring out the flavors of tender chicken breast and your choice of fresh summer vegetables, including zucchini, onions and potatoes. We gave this zucchini recipe a tropical flair by including chunks of sweet and juicy pineapple.
Zucchini boat recipes are another popular way to enjoy this non-starchy veggie. Sausage, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese are the makings of a classic Italian dish. Mix them up with peppers, onions and fragrant seasonings, then load them into zucchini boats for a simple but filling meal.
Zucchini bread recipes are a popular way to sneak some veggies into your diet. So many people love this sweet summer classic that we had to come up with a simpler and healthier way to make it. This version of zucchini bread has all the tastes you love—including honey, cinnamon and nutmeg—plus applesauce and an egg to ensure it comes out of the oven moist and scrumptious every time.
Load up a serving of summer veggies with flavor but not excess calories. Start with coins of zucchini, broccoli florets, chunks of peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes. Marinate them in a simple dressing, then grill or roast them until they begin to brown at the edges and become as sweet as can be.
These fritters are like crispy and savory pancakes, only with a healthy serving of vegetables baked right in. Dip them in a quick-and-easy sauce that hits all the flavor buttons, from sweet to salty.
With this one-dish meal, you can enjoy the zesty flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine without all the fats and excess calories. We scooped out whole zucchini and refilled them with a spicy mixture made with beans, jalapenos, salsa and shredded cheese. Heat them to melt the cheese and tenderize the zucchini, then serve with all the extra salsa you want (it’s a Free Food).
Pesto is easy to make but packs a powerful punch of flavor. We whip it up using farm-fresh basil, protein-rich pistachios and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Toss it with roasted veggies like sweet peppers, artichoke hearts and a hearty serving of zucchini noodles.
Start with succulent shrimp seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes to your taste. Add fresh veggies of your choice and serve atop of a steaming serving of tender zucchini noodles ready for twirling. Now you’ve got a restaurant-worthy meal you can enjoy at home with the added health benefits of zucchini.
The air fryer lets you turn raw ingredients into rich, flavorful meals in minutes. You can forget about piling on extra fats and cleaning up a messy kitchen. This one-dish recipe makes a satisfying breakfast or dinner any day of the week.
Are the Meatballs in Marina Sauce from Nutrisystem on your list of favorite meals? Take these protein-rich meatballs to the next level by serving them with a bowl of tender zucchini noodles coated in our savory sauce. “Spaghetti Night” has never been so good and good for you.
If you like Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, you’re going to love this lighter version featuring zucchini. You get plenty of cheese, a serving of protein-packed chicken breast and a pile of zucchini noodles for only 386 calories per serving.
Instead of the usual fat-laden summer sides, try this crunchy slaw flavored with a sweet-and-tangy dressing and a spark of fresh mint. It’s made with napa cabbage, often stocked with the Asian vegetables in supermarkets.
Get a taste of a beach vacation in your own kitchen with this easy “seafood bake.” Just toss together fresh shrimp, potatoes, zucchini, onions and your favorite herbs. Heat and eat inside crimped and folded foil. Summer eating made easy!
Yes, you can enjoy homemade zucchini muffins and stay on track with your weight loss goals. These lean, green muffins are moist and lightly sweet but packed with nutrition, featuring applesauce, cinnamon and bananas.
Zesty buffalo sauce and the gooey goodness of melted cheese transform simple ground turkey and fresh zucchini into a flavorful meal. It’s loaded with protein and fiber yet low in calories, so you stay full for hours after you finish.
Nothing says summer like summer squash! Throw that summer squash on a kebab and you’ve got the perfect seasonal dish for warm weather and sunshine. These Shrimp and Scallop kebabs pack in the lean protein and fiber-rich veggies for a nutritious dish that satisfies.
Take a peek at our recipes page to find more inspiring and weight loss-friendly recipes to enjoy! From zucchini boats to this quick and easy video covering how to make the perfect zucchini noodles, our wellness and nutrition experts at The Leaf have you covered!