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New Hampshire's Winning Recipe: Teeny Zucchini Triangular Panini

“Here in New Hampshire, there is a big push to support local farmers and to urge our community to buy local. My family likes to grow food in our backyard garden. In August we usually get lots and lots of zucchini. My grandpa says ‘you need to have a lot of friends and neighbors if you grow zucchini so you can give it away to them.’ I like to pick the zucchini (and other yummy vegetables) and fill a few boxes and bring it to our local food pantry and soup kitchen. I enjoyed creating and eating this recipe with my mom and it is part of our monthly menu rotation.”

Jude VanderHooven, Age 8, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from New Hampshire

Makes 6 Servings


  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
  • ¼ cup diced sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow or green)
  • ¼ cup mashed chickpeas (from ½ cup whole chickpeas)
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 whole-wheat pitas
  • Heirloom or beefsteak tomato slices
  • Baby Lettuce
  • 1 cup hot marinara sauce


  1. Place the zucchini into a clean dish towel, and tightly squeeze the water out into the sink. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients up to the olive oil. and mix together well. Using your hands, create 6 patties about the size of the pita bread.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat and cook the patties, about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown on each side and heated through. Place the patties on the pita bread and top with tomato slices and lettuce. Then grill the sandwich on a panini press, indoor electric grill, or even a waffle maker until the bread is crispy. Cut into small triangles on a cutting board. Enjoy with marinara sauce for dipping, a glass of milk and, if in season, a McIntosh apple.

342 calories 16g fat 40g carbohydrates 12g protein