How Padma Lakshmi Adds Texture To Sautéed Zucchini

Zucchini is a favorite summer vegetable, giving fans its best flavor between June and August. But what really helps this veggie rise above other ingredients is its versatility. Zucchini is the utility player we know and love. Chop one up and throw it into a vegetable soup to add a hearty element. Julienne a few and add them to a stir fry. Fry it; Roast it; Grill it; Turn it into noodles; Or grate it into bread. Zucchini's mild, nutty flavor and tender texture make it easy to work with for both culinary pros and novices.

However, because it is easy to find in the grocery store and is a go-to when trying to incorporate a vegetable into a meal, zucchini can become predictable. But it doesn't have to be. "Taste the Nation" creator Padma Lakshmi is well-known for loving eggs and being particular about how they are prepared, but she is also a bona fide zucchini enthusiast. The celebrity chef uses zucchini in a few of her talked-about recipes. Per Eat Well, zucchini takes on the lead role in her savory zucchini pudding. Lakshmi brings out its best attributes using complimentary tastes of goat and cheddar cheese. Similarly, when the cookbook author sautés this veggie, she turns to another favorite food to give it a beautifully satisfying crunch.

It's all about contrast

Per Food & Wine, when Padma Lakshmi wants to add some texture to her sautéed zucchini, she adds pomegranate seeds to this side dish. Lakshmi's affection for this fruit that embodies the yin and yang of sweet and tart is next level. She even posted an open love letter on TikTok celebrating its season's arrival, stating the pomegranate is her "favorite" fruit. Lakshmi uses it on her peanut butter toast, in salads, and with her sautéed zucchini, which she cooks with the flavors of dill, ginger, and garlic.

Why do the tastes of this fall fruit and summer vegetable work well together? It's all about contrast. Juicy pomegranate seeds and their slightly sour flavor and crispy nature contrast perfectly with sautéed zucchini's sweet notes and soft consistency. Add in dill's licorice-like taste, the spicy tang of ginger, and the butterlicious quality of cooked garlic, and there is a confluence of complex flavors that balance each other. 

So, the next time you are looking for a new way to experience zucchini, add a little crunch with pomegranate seeds.