Overnight Zucchini

When magic happens.

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On a hot day, when you are looking for something light and refreshing, skip cooking your vegetables and eat them raw.

Cooking strips away a lot of the nutrients and enzymes inherent in vegetables. Albeit still healthy, cooked vegetables oftentimes don’t reach the nutritional prowess of their raw counterparts. Indeed, there are some vegetables that can actually be more beneficial when cooked, such as tomatoes and other red vegetables, which have higher levels of the antioxidant lycopene when cooked. This article outlines research surrounding this topic well.

Regardless, eating vegetables raw is sometimes a huge pain—too much chewing, rough texture, etc. A good trick to softening raw vegetables and making them easier and more enjoyable to chew is to marinade them in a flavorful sauce and soak them overnight.

In this recipe, the apple cider vinegar and lemon break down and soften the texture of the zucchini and the olive oil moistens and smoothens. The dill is a pop of freshness!

Overnight Zucchini

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Ingredients:

– 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)

– 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

– 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

– juice of half a lemon

– 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

– 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, each

– 1/3 cup olive oil

Serves: 1-2

Directions:

As thinly as possible, slice the zucchini, lengthwise.

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Assemble the rest of the ingredients—so few!

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Chop the garlic.

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With a dash of salt, begin to smash the garlic, so it becomes a paste. We don’t want chunks lying around in this dish, since it’s raw.

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Chop the dill.

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Squeeze the lemon.

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And ad the apple cider vinegar.

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Mix.

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Salt and pepper…

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Pour the mixture atop the zucchini.

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Drizzle the olive oil on top.

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Place in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours to let the flavors marry and soften the zucchini.

The next day, serve:

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So fragrant!

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Bon appetit!

xo Aylin

Spicy Zucchini Aperitif

I swear there are more cats than people in Istanbul…

There is also a stray dog that follows me to work everyday. I didn’t take a picture of him, but he’s a sweetheart and circles me with love and I am thinking of taking him in as my own. The interesting thing about stray animals in Istanbul is that they all have received medical checkups/shots. Each has a tag that indicates they are disease-free and safe. Respect.

On an unrelated note, I recently made a zucchini appetizer that packed a punch.

Spicy Zucchini Aperitif

Ingredients:

-1 zucchini, sliced
-1 tsp salt
-1-2 tsp red pepper
-1 tbsp cumin
-1/2 diced red onion
-1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Smother the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil.

Cut the zucchini into slices and place on the oil-coated pan.

Next add the salt and red pepper.

And then the cumin.

Dice the red onion.

Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and crispy on the outside.

And serve!

The perfect mezze 🙂

Bon apetit!

xoxo

Raw Zucchini Pasta w/ Marinara

My favorite raw dish by far is zucchini pasta. It’s just so damn fun to make. Very few people have tried zucchini in its raw state, and it’s actually quite soft and slightly sweet–not crunchy or uncomfortable to eat in the least!  Sure, it’s no white flour pasta, but it’s delicious in its own right and leaves you with a whole lot more energy than, say, macaroni and cheese.

The marinara sauce is raw in this recipe, but you could easily heat it up. The fun part about zucchini pasta is the variety of sauces you can come up with.  I’ve stuck to this marinara recipe, but will change it up slightly depending on what I have on hand. Sometimes I’ll add basil, sometimes I’ll omit the olives, etc.  Because the olives contribute saltiness to this dish, I did not add salt or pepper. You can adjust that to your liking. Have fun with it!

Raw Zucchini Pasta w/ Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for approx 30 minutes in water
– 1/4 cup assorted black olives, pitted
– 1 large tomato (or 2 medium sized)
– Small bunch of parsley
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup water
– 1-2 zucchinis, spiralized

Directions:

Soak 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes in water to soften them up.

Cut them into chunks so they will blend easily.

Assemble the olives.

Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are, you’ll need 1 or 2. My tomatoes aren’t very juicy, so I began with blending one, but later added about 1/2 of another.

Gather your chopped ingredients, including the parsley, and add them to the blender.

Pulse the mixture, adding 1/4 cup of olive oil slowly as it blends. You may need to add up to 1/4 cup of warm water to help get it going. You may also have to stop blending to toss it around so it mixes more effectively.

The sauce should be thick.

Set the sauce aside (or begin to warm it up in a saucepan if you want it hot). In the meantime, cut off the ends of the zucchini to begin spiralizing.

See how it fits?  You simply rotate the right-hand side of this gadget so that the left-hand side pops out pasta-shaped zucchini babies!!

All that’s left of the zucchini are these mushroom-like tops. Pop them in your mouth, or let them lounge on the edge of a glass of cold water with mint leaves for an aromatic and entertaining beverage.

The rest of the zucchini is now pasta!

So easy to make with a spiralizer (which runs for $25, but it comes in handy and worth the buck).  Pour on the marinara…

I only spiralized one of the zucchini for this dish, because I realized I wanted more sauce than pasta tonight.  You can shave some cheese on top (unfortunately, I didn’t have any on hand).

Such a feast for the eyes and absolutely delicious.  The sauce is creamy and dense by virtue of the sun-dried tomatoes and olives, but it is not overpowered by either.  The pasta itself is light, easy to chew, and complements the sauce perfectly.

xoxo