Blue Zones Project

Blue Zones Meatless Monday – Grilled Zucchini with Ricotta and Herbs

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Thank you to Melanie Barsuk from Simple Gourmet for the delicious Meatless Monday recipe below! A plant-based diet is just one of the secrets that people in Blue Zones have known and practiced for centuries. You can find more great recipes and suggestions at

In Southern California it is just barely beginning to feel like fall. Summer had one last gasp with triple-digit days and we were happy to enjoy the sunshine just a little bit longer. One of nature’s cues that summer is turning into the fall is the disappearance of summer squash at the Farmer’s Markets (goodbye zucchini, patty pan, golden rod) and the introduction of winter squash (hello butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha). But there’s this little window of overlap that happens in the beginning of October in California where we get both and that’s exactly what’s happening right now. So with the last push of zucchini still showing up at the markets, we recently made one of our favorite, simple summer squash dishes: Grilled Summer Squash with Ricotta and Herbs. This is the kind of dish that makes the whole family dig into their veggies and it’s hearty enough to be a Meatless Monday main course. Enjoy this last taste of summer!!

Grilled Zucchini with Ricotta and Herbs

Makes 12-16 pieces

3 medium-large zucchini
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tbl chopped chives
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbl chopped basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 lemon

Place a grill pan over high heat (OR heat an outdoor grill on high).

Cut the zucchini into long strips a little less than 1/4-inch thick — you should get about 4-6 from each zucchini. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the zucchini strips on the grill and cook until well-marked on each side. Remove and let rest until cook enough to handle.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, garlic, chives, lemon zest, basil and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll each grilled zucchini strip around 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture and secure with a toothpick.

Just before serving, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature right away OR refrigerate for up to 6 hours and serve cold.


Melanie Barsuk
Simple Gourmet
Catering, Teambuilding, Cooking Parties
direct: 310-963-5667 l office: 310-318-6484 l fax: 310-356-3435


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