Zucchini carpaccio: this gourmet side dish is ready in 10 mins
Time: prep. 5 mins
marinate 5-60 mins
Difficulty: very easy
Yields: 2 portions
Zucchini carpaccio is the side dish that surprises everyone: for its unique taste, exaggerated ease and rich nutrient content.
Speaking of nutrients, the particularity of this recipe, namely the rawness of zucchini, is an excellent thing to be able to store without losing practically anything of that richness: as zucchini are poor in molecules defined as anti-nutrients, which are the cause of disorders, inflammation or even severe intoxication in other vegetables; moreover, consuming them raw does not entail any harm (provided you are not allergic to the zucchini and squash family: in that case cooked or raw would make little difference).
Poor, then, in what can be harmful, zucchini are simply incredible in terms of functional nutrients: at just 17 kcal per 100 grams, they are a great source of high-biological-value compounds with antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-diabetic activities[1,2,3].
In addition to such amazing abilities, zucchini are also generous in vitamins (vitamins A, C and B6), minerals (calcium, potassium and manganese) and carotenoids (such as lutein and zeaksanthin: they even migliorate eye health by preventing cataracts and the dreaded age-related macular degeneration).
Again, zucchini, which should not be considered vegetables, but unripe fruits (as they ripen they “transform” into summer squash), are true resilients, easy to grow (even on your home balcony), just be sure to provide them with 6 hours of sunlight and enough water.
Therefore, how could CHE not like them!
But there is one last reason why I recommend them: they make a great alternative to the sad lettuce salad. Especially way when one is on a diet, the word salad makes many people anxious (excluded me, since I can eat salad even without dressing, so much I like it); whereas by certainly limiting the amount of dressing, here is where zucchini carpaccio beats salad in several respects: it is definitely more inviting and aesthetically charming, and certainly more practical, since no special thorough washing needs to be done; nonetheless more satisfying, given its satiating potential, especially in a diet, where chewiness has its enormous value.
So in case zucchini carpaccio recipe has convinced you, go and buy zucchini since fortunately they are still in season.
Ingredients for zucchini carpaccio
2 medium zucchini
1 tbsp of Grana Padano or Parmigiano or any matured sheep/goat cheese shaves (also without it is delicious)
1 tbsp of evoo
1 tbsp of freshly squezeed lemon juice (or if you prefer balsamic vinegar)
lemon zest (optional)
some leaves of arugula or basil
black pepper and salt to taste
Nothing could be simpler than preparing zucchini carpaccio; the only caution I would stress is to cut the zucchini as thinly as possible, using a very sharp knife (works best with costa Romanesque type zucchini and if cut horizontally), or a mandolin and even a sharp potato peeler (works best with regular zucchini and if cut vertically).
You can prepare the carpaccio 1 hour in advance, so that the zucchini will get more flavor and make the fiber a little softer and more digestible, thanks to the presence of the lemon and salt; however, it is not mandatory, even after 5 minutes the zucchini carpaccio will conquer your palate.
Meanwhile, crack the walnuts. Buying them in the shell is a better way to save on the purchase price (see here for other tips on how to save money for healthy grocery shopping), this would allow us to grab local walnuts instead of imported ones.
Now combine the lemon juice together with the evo oil in a small bowl and mix well so as to create a stable emulsion; add the salt and pepper and season the zucchini carpaccio with the sauce you have just prepared.
For an optimal result wait an hour or so (not obligatory as said before) and serve garnishing with a few shaves of grana cheese, some arugula, lemon zest and chopped walnuts.
It is not recommended, but zucchini carpaccio can be enjoyed the next day as well.
Zucchini carpaccio is satiating since it is rich in fiber, in addition to its suave taste; therefore, it is ideal to pair with a rich main dish like chickpea and mushroom patties, or vegan and gluten-free quinoa balls.
More good news: making vegan carpaccio is super easy; just eliminate the cheese by increasing the walnuts; or by opting for a vegan cheese.
Enjoy your gourmet side dish and good revolution to all
1) Menéndez A., Capó J.T., Menéndez Castillo R.A., González O.L., Domínguez C.C., Sanabria M.L.G. Evaluation of Cucurbita pepo L. lipophilic extract on androgen-induced prostatic hyperplasia. Rev. Cuba. Plantas Med. 2006;11:1–6.
2) Wang D.C., Pan H.Y., Deng X.M., Xiang H., Gao H.Y., Cai H., Wu L.J. Cucurbitane and hexanorcucurbitane glycosides from the fruits of Cucurbita pepo cv dayangua. J. Asian Nat. Prod. Res. 2007;9:525–529. doi: 10.1080/10286020600782538
3) Martínez-Valdivieso, Damián et al. “Role of Zucchini and Its Distinctive Components in the Modulation of Degenerative Processes: Genotoxicity, Anti-Genotoxicity, Cytotoxicity and Apoptotic Effects.” Nutrients vol. 9,7 755. 14 Jul. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9070755
4) Ravikrishnan R., Rusia S., Ilamurugan G., Salunkhe U., Deshpande J., Shankaranarayanan J., Shankaranarayanan M.L., Soni M.G. Safety assessment of lutein and zeaxanthin (Lutemax™ 2020): Subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity studies. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2011;49:2841–2848. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.08.011