Earth Day Eats: Zucchini Pomodoro

To celebrate our beautiful Earth, this week I'll be sharing recipes that feature the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. For starters, I'm going to show y'all how I make one of my favorite side dishes - Zucchini Pomodoro. Zucchini is easy to grow in temperate climates, and if I had any sort of backyard with a space for a garden I'd be harvesting it in overwhelming amounts.

The inspiration for this recipe came from the side dish of a chain restaurant. I prefer to eat at and support local restaurants when I can, but sometimes you can't avoid it - like when I need to satisfy an intense craving for a spicy Chik-Fil-A sandwich and waffle fries. Or when I'm now a part of Brian's family tradition of going to Carraba's for Christmas Eve dinner. He knows I was a little wary of this tradition at first (love you) but I actually do enjoy Carraba's - they have a great lobster ravioli, tomato basil soup, and side of zucchini.

Its random, but its the most perfect side to ever exist. Zucchini, tomato sauce, basil, onion, and Parmesean cheese. That actually sounds a lot like pasta...which is I guess why I like it so much!

Here's the breakdown. I usually purchase three medium sized zucchinis, which allows plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. You'll also need a hunk of basil, half a medium sized yellow onion, canned tomato sauce, a form of Parmesan cheese (pecorino romano below is also fabulous), olive oil, and S&P. Oh, and some garlic; I always forget that little guy.

Slice your three medium sized zucchinis lengthwise into strips. I've also made this dish by slicing them into circles. It all tastes the same -- just depends on if you're in the mood for lines or circles.

Add your zucchini, minced garlic and chopped onion to a pan over medium-high heat and season it with salt, pepper, and an Italian seasonings if you have them.

Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes,  until it starts to get tender. Add one small can of tomato sauce and chopped basil to the pan. I also add in a heavy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for flavor.

Mix that all up and simmer for another 5-7 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serve it immediately - it pairs well with a nice grilled steak, or in honor of Earth Day, you could serve it on top of some quinoa for a totally meatless meal. Enjoy!

Zucchini al Pomodoro 

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Italian herbs to taste (purchase an Italian Herb Grinder)

1. In medium sized pan, saute diced onion with olive oil and garlic over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Slice zucchini into strips or circles and add to pan.  Season with Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper.  Saute for 10 minutes.

3. Add tomato sauce and basil to pan.  Simmer for another 5-7 minutes until bubbling.  Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan Reggiano cheese.


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