Monday, January 6, 2014

Braised Zucchini (Whole30 Day 6)

We're going nose-to-tail with our zucchini today!  I saw these charmingly small organic zucchini at Whole Foods, and was inspired to cook them without trimming the ends off, chopping them up, or turning them into noodles.  Sometimes, we just have to let zucchini be!  It's a beautiful vegetable, and when it's browned like this and braised until tender, you can eat the whole entire thing.

This zucchini is slightly spicy thanks to the cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and has just a hint of tang thanks to the sherry vinegar.  The vinegar, broth, spices, & shallots form a deliciously rich sauce that you can serve spooned over the zucchini, and/or on top of whatever protein you're eating with it.

I had this for lunch alongside a pork chop, cooked using the method outlined in this recipe, seasoned with salt and pepper and just a little garlic powder.  Bonus: if you decide to make these pork chops, with or without the apple compote, they can cook in the oven alongside the zucchini, and everything will be ready at the same time.

In case you're wondering how my Whole30 is going, here's a little update: it's great!  I don't know if I'm missing something, or if the worst is yet to come, but I've been really happy with all the food I've made and haven't struggled much with craving off-plan foods.  I've gone out to eat twice: on Saturday night, I ordered a steak, and subbed sauteed vegetables for the mashed potatoes.  Yesterday I met friends at Panera for lunch.  I ate a big breakfast at home right before, and just snacked on a fruit cup and had a cup of tea while there.  The only tough part was when my friend's adorable 3-year-old got a big cookie for dessert: she took a full ten minutes to eat it, picking off all the M & Ms first, and then finally chowing down on the soft cookie.  I have to admit, I would have loved a bite!  But, I resisted, and forgot about it as soon as the cookie was gone.  I'm feeling really righteous about all the meat & vegetables I'm eating, and I think my stomach is a little flatter, too!

Braised Zucchini
Yield: 2-4 side dish servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes


1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
4-6 zucchini (the smaller the better), halved lengthwise
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
A pinch or two of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or substitute white or red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400.  Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. You want a skillet that's big enough to hold all the zucchini halves in a single layer (you can always use two smaller pans).  When the pan is hot, add the zucchini, cut side down, in a single layer.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until well-browned on the bottom.

When the zucchini are nicely browned, flip them over.  Sprinkle the shallots into the pan, trying to get most of them in the nooks between the zucchini as opposed to on top.  Sprinkle on the cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, and vinegar.  Pour the chicken stock into the pan, and transfer the pan to the oven.  Roast for about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender when pierced with a fork and most, but not all, of the liquid has evaporated.  Spoon the shallots and sauce on top of the zucchini, top with cilantro, and serve hot or warm.

Want more Whole30 tips & recipes?  Come back for a new post everyday this month, and check out these previous posts:

For even more paleo recipes, check out these Whole30 posts from my archives or my Whole30 Pinterest board.  Also, follow me on Instagram to see pics of what I'm eating throughout my Whole30.

You might also like:

Shrimp & Zoodles with Garlic Tomato Sauce (Whole30 compliant)

Asparagus Bundles with Bacon & Poached Eggs (use sugar-free bacon for Whole30)

Spring Salad with Citrusy Shallot Vinaigrette (Whole30 compliant)

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