A summer squash appreciated for its tender texture and mild flavor, zucchini is suitable for countless hot and cold dishes. Unlike cooking methods that require liquids, roasting preserves all of the qualities that make zucchini special -- the taste, texture, color and nutritional value. Because zucchini is mostly water, it contains very few calories; however, it provides a generous amounts of vitamin C and potassium. Look for organic zucchini in supermarkets or your local farmers' markets.
Rinse a small zucchini measuring about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter or less. Trim the ends and cut the zucchini in half lengthwise or cut it crosswise into 1-inch slices. Don't remove the nutrient-rich skin and seeds, which also provide color and texture.
Pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel. Place a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, then arrange the halves, cut side up, on the foil.
Season the halves lightly with salt and pepper, then drizzle the zucchini with a small amount of olive oil or canola oil. One tablespoon of oil for every 2 pounds of zucchini is enough to brown the squash without adding unnecessary fat.
Sprinkle the zucchini with your choice of fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley. You can also use garlic or onion powder. Avoid garlic or onion salt or other seasoned salts, which add extra sodium.
Bring the foil up and around the squash, then fold the edges closed.
Place the zucchini in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender when you poke it with a fork. Don't overcook the zucchini, as overcooking results in loss of flavor and nutrients.
Open the top of the foil and sprinkle the squash with grated cheddar, mozzarella or Parmesan cheese. If calories are a concern, use low- or reduced-fat cheese.
Return the zucchini to the oven with the foil still open. Roast the zucchini for one to two minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden.
Transfer the roasted zucchini to a serving plate, then serve it hot.
Things You'll Need
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic or onion powder (optional)
Fresh basil or parsley, chopped (optional)
Grated cheddar, mozzarella or Parmesan cheese