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Many think that the best of the local growing season hits in the summer, but really fall has just as much to offer. Local produce not only tastes better but also supports Canadian growers and reduces our carbon footprint.

While the season brings an abundance of local root vegetables and apples, zucchinis are a surprising star of fall. The nutrient-rich vegetable is in season right now and is a fan favourite for many reasons.

Zucchini contains a significant number of vitamins, zero fats and is high in both fibre and water. There are many ways to incorporate the veggie into your diet; here are just a few:

Bring the best side dish.
This time of year is always filled with gatherings of friends and families, and it is easy to impress with this side dish. Garlic-butter sautéed zucchini is easy, quick and will have everyone asking for your recipe. Cut the zucchini to your liking and pan-fry or sauté with butter, preferred seasoning and a tablespoon of minced garlic. Get creative with seasoning and other veggies. Add tomatoes when you sauté for extra flavour or make it cheesy by grating parmesan over it before serving.

No-guilt snacking.
Oven-baked zucchini chips are a great way to snack in a healthy way. You begin by cutting the zucchini into thin slices and mixing a blend of parmesan, salt, pepper and any additional seasoning. Then dip each slice into an egg wash, then into the mixture. Once coated, place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F (190°C) until they look crispy brown, flipping them so both sides are evenly baked. Use these as your midnight snack or make as an appetizer paired with pesto, marinara or tzatziki.

Noodles + zucchini = zoodles.
Replace your pasta with local zucchini, using either a spiralizer, vegetable peeler or knife, or shred with a grater to get your desired shape and texture. Once you cut the zucchini, it’s as easy as sautéing in a pan with oil and seasoning for two to five minutes. Then, serve with
President’s Choice sweet basil pasta sauce and your choice of toppings.

Healthy on-the-go breakfast.
Try zucchini granola bites that don’t require any cooking and have limited ingredients. Start by mixing oats, almonds, cinnamon and chia seeds with the almond butter until well combined. All that’s left is to add dried, shredded zucchini, then roll the mixture into balls and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This recipe is quick, easy and perfect for on-the-go breakfast, school lunches and snacks.

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