Zucchini Anyone?

Fresh zucchini on wooden board

It’s the end of the vegetable harvest and if you’re like most Walla Wallans, you have an abundance of squash and zucchini spilling out of drawers and stacked precariously on counter tops. After all the tomatoes have been canned or made into sauce and frozen, what to do with all the gorgeous courgettes??

A dear friend passed along this recipe a couple of years ago and it has become a favorite in our house, noted especially for the crowd-pleasing effect it has on nearly everyone. These brownies are delicious! Honestly, you would never know they are made from zucchinis. They are fluffy, moist and chocolatey in the best way imaginable. Try them out and see for yourself.

Paleo Zucchini Brownies

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (that has been squeezed through a cheesecloth to remove excess moisture)
1 c almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 c honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 c. dark chocolate chips
2 TBSP cacao powder (or cocoa)

Preheat the oven to 350*
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour mixture into a 9×9 baking dish.
Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

That’s it. Simple, delicious and actually quite good for you and your loved ones. Allow me a moment to wax poetically about zucchinis. As a low-calorie vegetable, it contains no cholesterol or saturated fats and is often a staple for dietitians and nutritionists alike.  The peel is an excellent source of fiber, reducing constipation and even offering some protection against colon cancers. With those stats alone, one can see why and how zucchini is often used in cleanses and weight reduction programs.

From a Chinese Medicine viewpoint, the moisture in zucchini helps to moisten the lungs, while the fiber content helps to cleanse the large intestine. The lungs and large intestine are the organ pairing that are in the spotlight this time of year. It’s the time to nourish them, protect them, and strengthen their functionality. Zucchini is one of the perfect foods to eat as we move into Fall.

With its ability to nourish the Yin, or essential moisture, in the body, there is a slight caution for those that have too much moisture. If your acupuncturist is always talking about clearing dampness or transforming fluids, eat these moisture-nourishing brownies with a nice hot spiced chai or cinnamon tea. The bitter dark chocolate helps to balance the richness of the brownies, but you can further assist by drinking a spicy tea while enjoying them.

 

From a Western nutritional standpoint, zucchinis contain a moderate amount of folates, important for cellular division and DNA synthesis, and they are also an excellent source of potassium, the unsung hero of heart health. One medium fresh zucchini contains about 50% of our daily needs of Vitamin C, while also offering a good dose of Vitamin A (about 400 IU). While these last statistics are not as relevant for our cooked dessert, it’s a good reason to nibble on some raw bits while baking.

Courgettes contain a good amount of the mineral manganese, key for several enzymatic processes in the body, notably bone health, skin integrity and protection against free radical damage. The green squash also has trace amounts of several other important minerals as well as multiple B-vitamins, making it a very well-rounded nutritional powerhouse.

However, its best kept secret is that it actually provides the perfect foundation for fluffy, delicious brownies. All hail the glorious courgette! Enjoy!

Julie Baron is an EDSC_0081ast Asian Medicine Practitioner at the Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. Julie seeks to empower individuals and communities.  As a movement and mindfulness educator, she has a penchant for functional anatomy. As an EAMP, she has also has a passion for herbal medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

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