Zucchini looks like a cucumber.
It is an indispensable vegetable for making ratatouille and caponata.
But when you are about to use it, you may think, “I don’t have any at home! “I can’t find it at the supermarket! “I can’t find it at the supermarket!
Oh no! I don’t have any cucumbers. What should I do?
For those who have never eaten zucchini before, it may take courage to buy them.
Also, many large supermarkets have them, but it’s a hassle to go all the way to a distant store.
In such a case, using an alternative to zucchini is recommended.
This time, I’m going to introduce you to some ‘vegetables you can use instead of zucchini’ that will help you in your time of need, so please take a look at them!
What kind of vegetable is zucchini? Introduction to its characteristics
Zucchini looks like a cucumber, but it is actually a member of the pumpkin family.
Also, the common zucchini is the long and thin type, but there are also round and disk-shaped types.
Even though it is a member of the pumpkin family, it is not a vegetable that becomes tasty when ripe.
It is best to choose fresh zucchini and eat them as soon as possible.
Zucchini is used in stir-fries and rich soups because it is a vegetable that goes well with oil.
In terms of nutritional value, zucchini is rich in potassium and beta-carotene, which help to eliminate sodium from the body and increase metabolism.
Eating zucchini is an easy way to get anti-aging benefits.
6 substitutes for zucchini
Zucchini Substitute 1: Cucumber
Cucumbers look just like zucchini, and the cross-section when sliced is also similar.
Although it has high water content, it can be a good substitute for zucchini if you are creative.
When using cucumbers as a substitute for zucchini, I recommend that you check the recipe or the dish you want to make properly.
For example, if you are making a stew or stir-fry such as ratatouille, you can use cucumbers.
However, dishes such as fried or oven-baked dishes may be difficult to make due to the water content of the cucumbers getting in the way.
Also, even in stews and stir-fries, be prepared for the flavor and texture to be different from zucchini.
Substitute for zucchini 2: Eggplant
Eggplant is one of the vegetables that can be easily purchased at grocery stores and supermarkets.
It’s in season in the summer and is a versatile vegetable that can be used in stir-fries, fried foods, and pickles.
Eggplant is a good substitute for zucchini because, like zucchini, it has the tendency to absorb oil.
Since it does not have the same water content as cucumbers, it can be used in fried foods.
However, if you cook them too long, they will become too soft and will not have the same texture.
It is recommended that you devise a cooking method that leaves a good texture.
However, the texture is not crispy, so it is best to eat it as a dish to enjoy the unique texture of eggplant.
Substitute for zucchini 3: Bitter melon
Bitter melon has a bitter taste and a crispy texture.
The most famous dish using bitter melon is Okinawan bitter melon stir-fry with tofu and other ingredients.
Since bitter melon is similar in texture to zucchini, it can be used as a substitute.
However, it is important to note that it does not taste exactly the same as zucchini due to its bitterness.
To soften the bitterness, it is common to salt them or cook them with oil.
Another method is to combine salt and sugar and rub it into the bitter melon.
If you are going to pre-boil them, boil them with the salt and sugar still on them, and then drain them.
Substitute for zucchini 4: Mushrooms
Mushrooms are used for pizza and pasta.
They may not look like zucchini, but they are a surprising substitute.
Mushrooms, like enoki mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms, do not become soggy when cooked and retain their crunchy texture.
To retain more texture, slice them thickly.
Zucchini has a light flavor, but mushrooms have a lot of flavors. Zucchini has a bland flavor, but mushrooms have a lot of flavors, and the flavor of the mushrooms will add to the dish and make it more delicious.
Substitute for zucchini 5: Pumpkin
Kabocha is used in soups, tempura, and simmered dishes.
Common pumpkins become soft when cooked and are not recommended as a substitute for zucchini.
However, there are some types of young pumpkins that retain their hokey texture when cooked.
If the pumpkin is not ripe, it is a good substitute for zucchini.
However, be sure to handle them gently, as they tend to lose their shape and affect the overall taste of the dish if they are overcooked.
Substitute for zucchini 6: Eringi
The eringi mushroom is thick, white, and has a flat crust.
It can be used as a substitute for zucchini because it has a crunchy texture and no peculiar taste.
The eringi mushroom is a type of flat mushroom, and it is said to have started being cultivated in Japan around 1990.
It used to be an unfamiliar mushroom, but nowadays you can often find it in supermarkets.
The most distinctive feature of eringi is its texture. It can be easily substituted for zucchini in a variety of dishes, as it tends to retain its crunchy texture even when boiled or fried.
Points to note when substituting zucchini with cucumber
As explained earlier, cucumbers can be substituted for zucchini in some dishes and cooking methods.
However, cucumbers are a vegetable with very high water content, with over 95% of the total water content.
If you heat it, the green smell of cucumbers will spread throughout the dish, and the taste will be reduced by half.
Therefore, it is recommended to remove as much water as possible.
To remove the water from cucumbers, use the following method.
Things to prepare
How to drain water
- After cutting the cucumber, sprinkle salt on it, rub it, and wait for about 5 minutes.
- When the water comes out, squeeze it tightly with your hands to remove the salt from the cucumber.
If you are still concerned about the water content, I recommend removing the seeds from the cucumbers.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds.
Cucumbers drained water, even if used in stir-fries and soups will be eaten without discomfort.
- Zucchini is a member of the pumpkin family and can be long and thin, round, or disk-shaped.
- The following six are recommended as substitutes for zucchini: cucumber, eggplant, bitter melon, mushrooms, pumpkin, and eringi mushroom.
- When substituting cucumbers for zucchini, it is best to remove the water by salting or removing the seeds.