Roasting Zucchini Will Take It To A New Level

The summer weather brings bountiful vegetable harvests to farmer's markets and home gardens alike, and that means an abundance of delicious veggie recipes. Whether you're just trying to use up some produce or diversify your diet with more nutrients, there's a veggie that works on so many levels. Perhaps one of the most versatile vegetables, zucchini is a vibrant green summer squash with a mild flavor. Naturally a bit more bland, zucchini has a high water content that releases extra moisture when cooked — and it's perfect for adding a hint of gorgeous green, or amazing health benefits, to your summer spread.

There are many creative ways to use zucchini. From moist zucchini bread and creamy veggie hummus to green pasta dishes like zoodles and zucchini lasagna, this summer squash is a versatile addition to many meals. And while there are tons of wonderful ways to incorporate zucchini into a dish, there's one technique that truly lets the zucchini shine, rather than incorporating it as a carb or protein replacement. Roasting is one of the best methods for preserving the texture and elevating the flavor of zucchini, helping it become a main course rather than a side or substitution.

Roast for maximum flavor

Celebrated for its ability to stabilize blood sugar levels and aid in digestion, zucchini boosts the health benefits of any recipe. Incorporate some healthy oils, a little cheese, a flavorful marinade for grilling, and a high cook temperature, and you've got a summer squash that's just as healthy as it is tasty. But before cooking any kind of zucchini dish, it's important to drain the vegetable's excess moisture properly — all that water can turn the zucchini soggy and diminish its flavor. After slicing your zucchini into medium-thick rounds or strips, let it dry on a paper towel to soak up some of the water before throwing it in the oven. 

Set your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook the zucchini for around 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the veggies to make sure they don't burn. The higher temperature and shorter cook time result in a richer, more flavorful brown on the zucchini, giving it a nice char that takes the taste to a new level. Roasting also helps maintain some of the veggie's crispness, since a low and slow cook time brings out moisture. You'll become a zucchini zealot after getting a taste of the enhanced flavors, and maybe even deem the vegetable your new favorite summer squash. Now get roasting, and enjoy!