CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Sauteed Zucchini With Onions And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

There aren’t many vegetables that get a bad rap. But zucchini is one of them that does. I once read somewhere that zucchini is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables. It doesn’t get any respect.

One of the reasons given by people who don’t like zucchini is just that, it keeps on giving. Usually it’s gardeners who let their zucchini get out of hand who are the biggest complainers.

Another reason for the disdain is that it’s tasteless in the opinion of others. I have a friend who says he could just as well eat cardboard as zucchini.

Well, I don’t buy the tasteless part. If you’ve ever eaten zucchini bread, you know why. And as far as letting your zucchini take over your garden and getting so big that they resemble a small dirigible, there is a simple solution. Don’t plant so much.

Nutritionally, zucchini is a great source of antioxidants, which protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. (Many health experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease  such as atherosclerosis and cancer.) Zucchini is high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which provide protection against unwanted inflammation.

One of my favorite ways to fix zucchini, besides the aforementioned bread, is to saute it with other veggies. The following zucchini recipe is one I’ve made twice this past week. It’s very simple, quick to make and quite tasty.

I think any good cook can respect that!

Sauteed Zucchini With Onions And Sun-Dried Tomatoes
3 small zucchini, sliced thinly (or two medium-sized ones, quartered)
1 large onion, quartered and diced
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato bruschetta
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups kale and/or Swiss chard, chopped (optional)
Saute zucchini, onion and garlic in olive oil and butter in frying pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and another 10 to 15 minutes. Add kale and/or Swiss chard and cook for another 5 minutes.

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