Zucchini saute is an easy to prepare dish that can be served as a side or as part of a complete meatless meal. Zucchini, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan on top.
I view it as an opportunity to start fresh, a spring, or summer cleaning for the kitchen. Yet, when we return home, I’m never in much of a mood to shop or eat. I find that no matter how good the food is, I end up eating too much, and too often. Saturday night, I was in just such a mood. We’d had a 5 1/2 hour road trip and were all a bit weary. After unpacking, (always so much more unpleasant than packing!) we were ready for something light.
The entire family prefers to eat very simple food for a few days after vacation or holidays. I use meat, if at all, as a condiment, rather than the main attraction. I checked on my garden, which just the week before, had only the beginnings of zucchini and found this massive, two pound squash and a handful of pear tomatoes.
The zucchini, sautéed with a little garlic served atop some brown rice, made the perfect light dinner. There were other possibilities lurking in my fridge as well. I could have taken a half container of salsa and a couple of eggs and turned them into Huevos Rancheros, using a few stray tortillas. And I always keep canned beans in the pantry for just such occasions. A quick sauté of onion and garlic, some chicken broth and beans makes a quick and light Tuscan Bean Soup, since the beans need nothing more than a warming and a quick sprinkling of fresh herbs.
The zucchini saute is delicious, but potato is probably one vegetable that can stretch a budget further than any other.
I can take a couple of potatoes, and onions or leeks, which last nearly forever, and turn them into a simple soup which can be served hot or cold, depending on the season. Another such “something from nothing” dish is Avgolemono Soup, a splash of lemon, a couple of eggs, beaten into some chicken broth, makes a light, yet satisfying Greek soup. Add some finely diced carrots or a handful of peas or diced asparagus and the soup becomes even more elegant meal.
The important thing is not to be bound by recipes or rules. Some of the best dishes I’ve created came from peering into a seemingly empty fridge, and creating a meal that belied its humble beginnings! I’ve made meals from a bit of left-over ground meat, some beans and a smattering of cheese, for a Chipotle Bowl, or taken day old rice and pork and transformed it into Pork Fried Rice. I remember one episode of “That Girl”, a 1960’s sitcom, starring Marlo Thomas. She was so broke, she couldn’t afford lunch, so she went to the automat and asked for a bowl of hot water, to which she added ketchup…Tomato Soup! Next time you look into the fridge, see what you can make from almost nothing!
I hope you enjoy this easy zucchini saute recipe.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel zucchini into long thin ribbons. If using an overly large squash, use only the outer part, as the inner part tends to be drier and seedier. (Save the center bit for soup)
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan, over a medium high heat.
- Quickly sauté ribbons for just a minute or two.
- Add garlic and sauté another minute. Zucchini ribbons cook very quickly.
- Season with salt, fresh pepper, a bit of lemon zest and juice to taste.
- Serve on top of brown rice or pasta. Sprinkle with halved tomatoes, chiffonade of basil and fresh parmesan cheese.