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My love affair with zucchini started when I bought my first spiralizer. I am a big believer in family dinners and my family loves to eat pasta topped with rich sauces and heavy with all kinds of cheeses, of course.

When I was trying to lose the last of my baby weight after having my second son, I purchased the spiralizer hoping to make vegetable noodles so I could eliminate the pasta from my diet but still be able to eat with my family. And I was so tired of having to resort to something diet-obvious like salad. I didn’t even have a recipe to work with the first time I tried it out. All I did was sauté the zucchini noodles (aka “zoodles”) for about four minutes, then I topped them with the turkey meatballs and marinara I had already prepared for the family. It was love at first bite!

Since then, I have collected several zucchini recipes that my whole family enjoys.

Bikini Bolognese: This recipe from my new favorite site Inspiralized is an upgraded version of my first zucchini noodles trial, but it serves the same purpose. You get to enjoy a HUGE bowl of zoodles and meat sauce without the calorie-heavy consequences. Yum! (I don’t tell my kids that the “noodles” are zucchini. I like to hide blended veggies in the sauce too. Oh, what they don’t know!)

>> Read more: Zucchini Spaghetti With Beef Bolognese

zucchini bolognese recipe

Photo Credit: Inspiralized

Zucchini Lasagna: Replacing classic lasagna noodles with thinly sliced zucchini is another easy way to turn a traditional, calorie-laden dish into a lighter option loaded with vegetables. (via Skinnytaste)

Creamy Zucchini and Ricotta Spread: When I think of zucchini, I used to think only of zoodles or bread. I never considered it as a dip or spread, but this Martha Stewart recipe is a perfect appetizer when served with pita chips.

>> Read more: Mix Up These 12 Common Recipes With Zucchini Hacks

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps: I love Parmesan cheese on pretty much everything, so this recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Crisps had my full attention the moment I saw it. I like that the prep is simple and quick. You can even include your kids in the prep, plus you have time to clean up the mess while the crisps finish up in the oven. Great munchies for movie night! (via Food Network)

Healthy Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins: Sometimes I need to be a sneaky chef and hide vegetable servings in the family meals to make sure my kids (and husband) are getting enough servings in their diets. These double chocolate muffins by Ambitious Kitchen are great for that! All you see and taste is chocolate, so even I indulge in one occasionally. Click here for the recipe!

zucchini muffin recipe

Photo Credit: Ambitious Kitchen

Spinach and Zucchini Soup: Last, but not least, I am a HUGE soup fan. I eat it all year long, the creamier the better. This Spinach and Zucchini Soup is actually vegan, using vegetable stock and potatoes to create creaminess you don’t have to feel guilty about. (via 101 Cookbooks)