A good way to get more fruits and veggies into your diet is to use them in your favorite every day foods. They can stand alone as side dishes, but they can also be incorporated into some surprising recipes. Today we'll look at how to use a zucchini and a plantain beyond the sides. One is a vegetable and one is a fruit, but they can be used in similar ways. Why would you want to use zucchinis and plantains in your meals? Here's why:
zucchini is low in calories
zucchini has anti-inflammatory properties
zucchini is a high source of potassium
plantains are also a good source of potassium as well as magnesium
plantains reduce free radicals
plantains aid digestion
These reasons sound good to me, so let's look at a few ways you can use zucchini and plantains in every day recipes
When you pack your recipe with nutrients you CAN begin your day with a cookie!
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup zucchini shredded
2 TBS coconut oil measured in its solid state
2 TBS almond butter
½ cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ to ½ cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon). Set aside.
Put zucchini, coconut oil, almond butter and coconut sugar in your blender (Vitamix) or food processor). Blend ingredients together until smooth.
Add egg and vanilla and blend for 15 seconds or until just combined.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix very well.
Add chocolate chips.
Scoop 2 TBS portions of cookie dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10-13 minutes until cookies are slightly browned.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool!
2 large black plantains (you want these to be sweet)
1/2 ripe banana
2 cups finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut concentrate
3 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey (taste the batter to see if it is sweet enough + 2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp stevia (this is not AIP so substitute more honey or other acceptable sweetener)
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
Peel the plantain by cutting off the edges, cutting it in half and scoring it along the length
Place your thumb under the edge and peel back the skin – if there is any skin left on the plantain cut it out
In the food processor puree the plantain
Add the coconut concentrate, vanilla, stevia, cinnamon and honey and combine well
Add the finely shredded coconut and just mix
Place the batter into a bowl for ease
Place a teaspoon of batter onto the cookie sheet and smooth over with your finger or use a small melon scoop of tablespoon measuring spoon
Fill the cookie sheet with the batter – you will need two
Bake at 325º F for 15 minutes, or until the top is just browned a bit
Don’t over bake or they will become dry
Cool on a rack
Who doesn't love a muffin. Try these flavorful beauties.
LEMON ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
2 cups zucchini finely grated
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup almond butter smooth
1/3 cup coconut oil melted
½ cup tapioca starch
1 ½ cup almond flour bleached
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
¼ cup sliced almonds optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a food processor, finely grate the zucchini. Measure out 2 cups. Squeeze all of the excess water out of the zucchini. (You will end up with a little over 1 cup of grated zucchini once water is squeezed out.)
Shredded zucchini inside a food processor to make a zucchini muffin recipe.
In a large bowl combine eggs, vanilla, sugar, syrup, almond butter, and oil. Whisk until combined.
In a separate medium-sized bowl combine starch, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Next, add shredded zucchini, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
Line a regular-sized muffin tray with cupcake liners. Spray liners with non-stick cooking spray and fill to 3/4 full. Top each with 1 teaspoon sliced almonds.
Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick when inserted in comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving and enjoy!
PLANTAIN BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
2 large green plantains (should be 1 1/2-2 cups pureed)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla
3-5 Tbsp date sugar or evaporated cane juice (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2-2 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen [or substitute your favorite fruits, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips (you only need about 1 cup of mini chocolate chips)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a muffin pan or line with silicone or paper liners (I actually used a silicone muffin pan which makes this super easy).
Peel plantain and place in a food processor or blender with egg, coconut oil, vanilla, sweetener, and salt.
Process for 3-5 minutes, until completely smooth (you might want to scrape the sides once or twice). Add baking soda and cinnamon and process to fully incorporate. Fold in blueberries or whatever other goodies you’re using.
Spoon batter into muffin pan (muffin cups should be 70-80% full, depending on how many berries or other add-ons you use). Bake for 27-30 minutes. Enjoy!
A grain-free or low grain lifestyle does not mean life without bread.
1½ cups shredded zucchini (3 small zucchini)
¼ cup coconut flour, available here
3 Tbs. arrowroot flour, available here
2 eggs, at room temperature
¼ tsp. unrefined salt or Herbamare seasoning salt
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Place the shredded zucchini absorbent kitchen towel, multiple layers of paper towels, or two layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.
Stir together the zucchini and remaining ingredients. Form into four flabreads on the baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden around the edges and firm in the center. Cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.
These flatbreads are best the day they are made, but may be stored for a day or two in an airtight container in the fridge.
MEDITERRANEAN PLANTAIN FLATBREAD
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
8 sliced mushrooms
2 cups loosely packed spinach chopped
8 sundried tomatoes chipped
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a high speed blender or food processor, add plantain, egg, garlic, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, salt and coconut oil.
Process until smooth in consistency.
Spread the mixture into two circles or ovals or rectangles on yoursilpat or parchment covered cookie sheet. Make sure to spread evenly for each.
Cook for 10 minutes and take out of the oven.
In the mean time, add olive and mushrooms to a pan. Sauté over medium heat until mushrooms start to brown. Add garlic, spinach, sundries tomatoes, pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté for only a minute so spinach wilts a bit.
Add this mixture onto the two flatbreads.
Sprinkle feta on top and heat another 10 minutes.
Another quick bread is 1 egg to 1 plantain. Mix and bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes.
Change up your pizza routine. Try these alternatives.
For the crust:
½ cup almond flour, plus more for dusting
2 medium zucchini (about 2 cups, shredded)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Fine sea salt and pepper
Avocado Oil cooking spray
For the toppings:
5 small mini bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 jalapeño, sliced
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped (can also use shredded)
Dried oregano for sprinkling on top
Red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with racks in the top and bottom positions. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust it with almond flour.
Lay out a large piece of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and, using a box grater, grate the zucchini onto the towel. Gather the sides of the cheesecloth or towel and squeeze out excess liquid over the sink. Put the zucchini in a large bowl.
Beat 2 eggs and add them to the bowl, along with the almond flour, oregano, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix well until it takes on a dough-like texture. If the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon or two more almond flour.
Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and form it into a 10-inch round or two 5-inch rounds. Lightly spray the crust(s) with cooking spray and bake on the lower rack of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are browned and the crust is firm.
In a small bowl, toss the veggies with the olive oil.
Remove the pizza from the oven. Scatter evenly with the peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, and mozzarella pieces. Bake for about 7-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
Drizzle with olive oil, and season with a little more salt and pepper, dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve hot. feta cheese on top and place in oven for another 10 minutes.
1 ripe green plantain (slightly yellow in color once it’s ripe)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Peel or cut skin off of plantain and cut into large chunks (thirds)
Place the plantain in a food processor or blender, and add the spices, olive oil, and egg white
Blend until well combined – a thick yet creamy texture
Spread the plantain batter evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet, roughly 1/2″ thick
Bake for 12-15 minutes until crust is set and able to transfer without breaking
Add pizza sauce and desired toppings, then bake an additional 10 minutes
Enhance your cake experience with fruits and veggies.
ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CAKE
For the Flourless Version (Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free)
2 1/4 cups gluten free rolled oats Can sub for quinoa flakes
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sweetener of choice I used a stevia blend
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 flax egg
1 cup liquid of choice almond milk, coconut milk etc * See notes
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
For the Keto, Paleo, and Low Carb Version
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sweetener of choice I used a stevia blend
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup shredded zucchini
3 large eggs
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp liquid of choice coconut milk, almond milk etc
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a high-speed blender, combine all your ingredients and blend until a thick batter remains. Regularly scrape down the sides to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Pour the batter in the greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the center. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the chocolate zucchini cake has cooled, add the optional frosting and slice into pieces.
Coconut oil, to prepare the cake pan
1 lb. peeled, almost black plantains (about 3 medium-size plantains)
4 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup coconut oil or ghee, melted
¼ tsp. unrefined salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round cake pan with coconut oil.
Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I use and recommend the Ninja blender). Blend until a smooth batter forms. Pour the batter in to the prepared pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the cake moist but without crumbs. It is better to underbake rather than overbake. I prefer it slightly underbaked, when the texture is reminiscent of banana bread French toast. It's phenomenal.
To serve, enjoy at warm or at room temperature, spread with ghee. Alternatively, let cool and serve with coconut whipped cream and fresh berries.
I always have zucchini and plantains on hand. I've cooked with them for years. They rank among my favorites. Zucchini and plantains are very affordable and available year round. Pick them up on your next trip to the market.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!