Zucchini and zucchini flowers with leaf on wood background

Summer squash are members of the gourd family, and come in many varieties including zucchini in various colors, yellow crook neck or straight neck varieties, and pattypan, which are a small round squash with a scalloped edge that are generally pale green or white.

Summer squash differ from winter squash in that their skin and seeds are completely edible. You can use summer squash raw or cooked, or they can be shredded and added to many baked goods. And remember the zucchini flowers are edible too and make a pretty edition to salads.

So what about nutrition? Summer squash should be celebrated because it is very low in calories and provides a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, especially when you eat the skin too.

When choosing summer squash, select squash with bright smooth skin, that isn’t cut or blemished. Summer squash can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days.

So what do you do with all the healthy zucchini from your garden or the neighbor’s garden, besides fried zucchini and zucchini boats? Why not try this simple recipe for Parmesan Zucchini Spears (Zucchini Parmesan Sticks), which can be baked in the oven or even cooked on the grill.

Easy Parmesan Zucchini Spears
Author: A Nutritious Dish | Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN
  • 2 medium zucchini, washed, trimmed and cut into quarters
  • seasoning salt
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Place zucchini quarters into the prepared pan cut side up. Spray lightly with cooking spray to help the salt and cheese stick to the zucchini. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and Parmesan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes minutes, or until tender.

Once they’re done, you simply place them on a pretty dish, and there you have it…A Nutritious Dish, in a matter of minutes!

For zucchini ideas from breads to soups, click HERE.