The veggie of the week is a fruit, but a fruit that at least I always thought of as a vegetable! I am of course talking about our beloved household staple zucchini. Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a summer squash in the Cucurbitaceae plant family, alongside melons, spaghetti squash, and cucumbers.
Growing from flowers, zucchinis are technically considered a fruit, not a vegetable. And guess what, the flowers are edible too! The zucchinis themselves have a mild taste. While they are commonly recognised for their grand greenness, they occur in several varieties ranging in colour from dark green to deep yellow, with the latter being slightly sweeter.
This versatile household staple contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds, with cooked zucchini being particularly high in vitamin A. Raw zucchini, on the other hand, have less vitamin A but more vitamin C, a nutrient which tends to be reduced by cooking.
Different sources give slightly different information on the history of zucchini, but they all agree that the fruit is the grandchild of a type of squash that was taken from South and Central America and brought to Europe in the wake of the European countries’ colonisation of the American continent.
These green and yellow beauties are very versatile. Think of almost any dish – or at least any meal – and chances are you can pop a zucchini into the pot or pan or baking tray. You can fry them, sauté them, use a vegetable peeler to turn your zucchini into “pasta ribbons” or even munch on the raw squash. They can take the place of potatoes and pasta and be part of a savoury pie. They can even, as in this week’s recipe, be used to make bread!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 ¼ cups white sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. Grease and flour two 20 x 10 cm.
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
- Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla together in a separate large bowl with an electric mixer until combined; add flour mixture and beat well. Stir in zucchini and walnuts until well combined. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a table knife around the edges to loosen. Invert carefully onto a wire rack and let cool completely.