Family Recipe: A New Take on Zucchini

Carleen Hanson, MD

Dr. Hanson, Pediatrician, Meriter West Washington

 Zucchini is one of those vegetables that many gardeners have an overabundance of, and it can be hard to come up with ways to get your kids to eat zucchini other than in bread or muffins. Here is a recipe that I came across that we’ve enjoyed in our house – if your kids like fettuccine alfredo, give this alternative a try.   

Zucchini Alfredo (6-8 servings)   

Ingredients:
1 (12 ounce) package uncooked egg noodles
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of shredded zucchini
½ cup skim milk
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese – cubed
½ cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese  

Directions:  

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente (don’t overcook the noodles or you’ll have a mushy mess); drain.  

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes. Mix in zucchini and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until some of the moisture has evaporated.  

3. Pour the milk into the skillet and stir in cream cheese until melted. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve over the cooked pasta.  

As is, my family found the recipe to be a little bland, but a few tips to help:   

  • Definitely salt the pasta water, as this will help give the egg noodles more flavor.
  • Increase the garlic (we double it in our house)
  • We add about ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese to the sauce at the same time as the cream cheese, this really helps boost the flavor.
  • Feel free to add your choice of protein (chicken or shrimp work best, but be creative) or extra vegetables, such as tomato, pepper or broccoli.Another tip to help make this a quick, weeknight meal is to shred the zucchini ahead of time. I often will shred multiple zucchini and freeze in 4 cup portions. I defrost the zucchini before adding to the recipe, being sure NOT to add the water that is left in the container. This helps the zucchini to cook a little faster as well, which will get dinner on the table that much sooner. 

Enjoy!   

Carleen Hanson, MD
Pediatrics
Meriter West Washington

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