Monday, July 2, 2012

Persian Zucchini with Tomatoes, Chili & Mint

Pretty soon, we'll be seeing backyard gardeners trying to give away their large monster-size zucchini to friends, neighbors and unsuspecting strangers. But right now, they're still small and tender.

My husband brought me a bunch of zucchini this week, asking me to create something light and tasty. A small basket of of cherry tomatoes sat lonely on my counter top. A green chili was in my fridge and dried mint was in the spice drawer. Mint and zucchini make a wonderful pair. A classically Middle Eastern combination, they'll be married for a long time.

The combination of zesty lime, sweet tomatoes, spicy chili and cooling mint make this dish a refreshing one. Pair it with a baguette and some soft mozzarella and you've got yourself a nutritious lunch or a light dinner. It's a feisty sidekick for chicken or fish too.

This collagen-producing recipe is great for the skin. It's light, healthy, high in antioxidants, fiber and trace minerals too. The Nutritional profile is after The Rundown.  

Serve warm, room-temp or hot from the pan. 

Serves 4-6 

Zucchini with Tomatoes, Chili & Mint Recipe 

You'll Need:
  • olive oil for cooking. I used extra virgin, unfiltered.
  • 6 small to medium size zucchini, or a combination of zucchini and yellow squash, chopped into small squares
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper sliced into thin half moons or minced finely. Seed it for a less spicy dish. 
  • a generous cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced or quartered depending on their size.
  • 1 small lime or lemon, zest about half it and reserve. 
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced on a microplane grater, garlic press or a lemon zester
  • pinches of dried spearmint, a couple of chopped fresh mint leaves or herb of your choice. Thai basil or fresh parsley would be great too. 
  • kosher salt or sea salt to taste. Fleur de sel is terrific as a finishing salt. 

The Rundown:
Add some olive oil to a large saute or fry pan. I use a nonstick scanpan for this recipe. Add the jalapeno with a pinch of salt and saute until it starts to soften a bit. Drizzle a little more olive oil into the pan, add the zucchini and another pinch of salt. Saute on medium high heat until the squash is tender but not mushy. It helps to occasionally cover the pan. When the zucchini is done, stir in the tomatoes, garlic, lime zest, herbs and a final pinch of salt. Saute until the garlic and tomatoes have warmed through and the garlic has mellowed in flavor, about 1-3 more minutes. Finish with a squeeze or two lime, more herbs and sea salt. Fleur de sel is delicious. Enjoy!

Basic Nutritional Profile:
Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C and A. It also contains folate, magnesium and a trace mineral called manganese. Manganese helps the body form collagen which produces radiant, healthy skin. It contains many properties that help regulate blood sugar, preventing overeating. It is high in dietary fiber. 
Tomatoes are also a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals. Containing high levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that flushes the body of free radicals.

More Recipes From Jilly...

Light as Air Chickpea & Zucchini Fritters

Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Tomatoes, North African Spices and Fresh Herbs


  1. This is a good one. I will be making this dish soon. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're Welcome Arpi. I hope you enjoy it! Happy Eating!