Finally, after a couple days of hectic travel and playing catch up on the work I have to do for school, I can sit down with a cup of coffee and write up something that I’ve had done for about a week and a half now. Lately, I’ve been having to travel across the country for grad school so my free time has been taking a nose dive. Not because I have a lot of work to do in general, just because all the work I probably need to do for this semester has been concentrated in these last couple weeks. I love the midterm point.
But, I’ve decided to forgo my typical morning in which I drink coffee and play video games (which is currently the smash-hit Fire Emblem: Fates) to write up a quick recipe.
So last week was Texas Independence Day. And in the spirit of the enchiladas I made, I had to think of something rather healthy to go with it. Gotta get those nutrients after all. Since Tex-Mex cuisine is rather lacking in the vegetable-side-dish department, I turned to pure Mexican cooking. It’s similar to Tex-Mex, but I think it’s a lot healthier.
Zucchini seems to be used a lot in Mexican cuisine, so why not do that? I like zucchini since it’s pretty versatile. It has a flavor of its own but it also absorbs flavor fabulously. And don’t even get me started on caramelized zucchini, that’s the best. But we’ll save that for another time.
So I started this with a healthy mix of zucchini, roma tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos. It’s a good way to start out, I think. I diced all of these up and made sure to keep the seeds out of the bowl. Anyone that wants more spice, however, can keep them in. It’s really a matter of preference… or who you have to cook for.
Now, to add a little pizzaz to these vegetables, I threw in some cilantro, lime juice, chile powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Mix this all up and you’ll get something that already looks pretty delicious. I suppose if raw zucchini can be eaten, you could serve it like this. But I’ve never made that attempt so I won’t endorse it. But I won’t condone it either. You do you man.
Since this is covered in olive oil, you don’t need to add any to the pan when you heat it up on the stove. Just heat up the pan and throw everything in. Let this saute for a couple of minutes. But it won’t actually “saute” for very long since zucchini has the tendency to release A LOT of liquid when it cooks. The tomatoes won’t help with the situation either. Eventually, you’ll have a nice puddle in your pan. Good.
After a couple minutes of cooking, I added in some lime juice and covered it up. Because of all the liquid in the pan, I can now let the zucchini and vegetables steam for a good 20-30 minutes to get the zucchini nice and soft. After that, I uncovered the pan and let it continue to boil until the liquid reduced into something that just covered all the vegetables. And it’s pretty much done.
The finishing touch is to top the zucchini with some crumbled feta cheese (or queso fresco if you can find it). You can do this in the pan or in the individual dish, it’s all a matter of preference. I did it in the pan because I wasn’t plating other people’s plates. The cheese might seem like a strange addition, but I think it works nicely with the vegetables and adds a bit of creaminess. And since when is a bit of creaminess a bad thing?
And there you have it, a nice way to finish off your Texas Independence Day meal that moves beyond the usual rice and beans if you’re looking to spice things up.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 3 zucchini, diced
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 jalapenos, diced
- ½ cup cilantro
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbs oregano
- 1 tsp chile powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup feta or queso fresco
- Mix zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos in a bowl
- Add cilantro, lime zest, oregano, chile power, salt, pepper and olive oil to bowl
- Toss to coat everything evenly
- Heat a pan over medium heat
- Add vegetables and sauté for 5-8 minutes
- Add lime juice to pan
- Cover and steam for 20-30 minutes
- Uncover and continue to cook until liquid is reduced
- Top with feta or queso fresco