The Dutch Healthy Food ABC: the C

The Dutch Healthy Food ABC: the C

My name is Birgitte, I am a Dutch nutritionist and sport biomechanist. This is my third article on expatsHaarlem.. and surely not the last one. I have a project for you: The Dutch Healthy Food ABC. I will take the Dutch alphabet as source of inspiration for Dutch Healthy Food ingredients and recipes: every week I will take a new letter and every week I will give you a new healthy food ingredient description and recipe with that ingredient. My next weekly Dutch Healthy Food column will be published next Wednesday here on expatsHaarlem. Let’s start now: the letter C!


Zucchini is a healthy vegetable because it is easy to digest and full of fiber. Zucchini is related to the cucumber and has a soft and neutral taste. Zucchini is low in calories and contains vitamins A, B, C, a number of minerals and 0% fat. Zucchini is especially good for the eyes. It contains the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent age-related macular degeneration or cataracts. Because of these two phytonutrients, in combination with vitamin A, zucchini is better for healthy eyes than carrots!

For warm preparations it is advised to steam or stew the zucchini to retain the vitamins and minerals. It is better not to bake the zucchini because zucchini works like a sponge and therefore will absorb fat easily.

According to the “Vegetable & Fruit Calendar” of Milieu Centraal, zucchini from Spain and Belgium is classified as Class A (where A is the most environmental friendly and E is the least environmental friendly).

Tagine with seven vegetables

 2 Tbsp. olive oil
 2 onions, chopped
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 2.5cm piece root ginger, finely chopped
 1 fresh red chilli, seeded, chopped
 1 tsp. mild paprika
 1 tsp. cumin
 1 cinnamon stick
 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
 1 small butternut squash, in large cubes
 500g turnip in large cubes
 1 red pepper, cut into strips
 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, sliced
 1 can diced tomatoes or 400 g
 1 can chickpeas or 400 g or 250 g self-cooked chickpeas
 handful of dried apricots, roughly chopped
 3 zucchini’s into large pieces
 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
 juice of 1 lemon
 salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and fry the onions. Add the garlic, ginger, chili and spices. Keep stirring until it starts to smell delicious. Then add the carrot, butternut squash, turnips, peppers, tomatoes and fennel and toss well. Pour water onto the vegetables until they are just covered. Let everything simmer until the turnip and carrots vegetables are just tender. Add the chickpeas, apricots and zucchini and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Stir in the herbs. Taste and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve hot with couscous and harissa.

(Source: Recipe from Jenny Chandler)
Read all episodes of the Dutch healthy food ABC

Birgitte van Don
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