Zucchini and cucumber are two vegetables that are often mistaken without a proper glance. These two fruits though generally called a vegetable are quite different not just in appearance but also in taste and usage.
Zucchini also known as courgette, is a family of the summer squash while cucumber with the botanical name Cucumis sativus is a gourd family. However, both are members of the Cucurbitaceae plant.
This article gives all the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber and as well answers all your questions.
Are zucchini and cucumber the same?
A zucchini is different from a cucumber although they look the same, but they are not the same. They differ from each other in the following ways;
A zucchini is greenish-yellow in color. It has smooth, shiny skin. The stem which is woody is seen in the outer skin.
On the other hand, cucumber is totally green in color. It has thicker but crispy skin and it’s rough with tiny swellings all over it. It has a little stalk.
When opened, the fleshy part of zucchini is dry and whitish-yellow in color with very tiny and short seeds.
Unlike that of the cucumber which appears whitish in color with larger and longer seeds. Both vegetables are long and cylindrical and can be cut open despite their textures.
Zucchini and cucumber have an entirely different taste when eaten raw and when cooked. Although cucumbers are mostly eaten raw and used for salad as well as garnishing food. Zucchini is used mainly while cooking.
Cucumber has a mild, lightly sweet flavor and a slightly sweet taste. It is succulent when eaten because of its high water content. It can be eaten even without having to peel off the skin. Cucumber has a faint melon aroma.
Zucchini is almost flavorless. Slightly sweet and slightly bitter. It is not succulent but has a high water content like the cucumber. The summer squash has a bitter taste when eaten.
When cooked, cucumber becomes soft and weak, almost losing its taste. Moreover, it becomes less crispy.
Zucchini is best when used in cooking. They are a bit sweet as they absorb the ingredients used for them.
Usage of Zucchini and Cucumber
The two vegetables can be used for various purposes. Although cucumbers are mostly eaten raw rather than being cooked like zucchini.
Zucchini is mostly used while cooking but can be eaten raw in few cases. However, zucchini can be steamed, shredded, boiled, baked, grilled or sautéed.
It can be used in the preparation of different foods which include stir-fries, muffins, vegetable noodles, frittata, lasagna, bread and vegetable chips. It can be even stuffed to make stuffed zucchini and also be sautéed in butter, boiled or roasted.
Cucumber on the other hand can be eaten raw. Also, it is used in garnishing a number of dishes and in making vegetable salad, sandwiches, pickled and raita.
Cucumber can also be used in garnishing gin and different types of cocktails such as the summer cocktails and tonic cocktails. Moreover, it gives a fresh flavor to beverages.
Both fruits can be used without peeling their skin as their skin has more nutritional content. Hence, it also adds color and texture to dishes.
Zucchini vs Cucumber Which is healthier
Zucchini and cucumbers are very healthy and have a high nutritional value. They can be used in dieting when losing weight because they have a very low glycemic index and contain no fat.
These vegetables are very low in calories, carbs and sugar due to their high water content. Hence, they are high in essential nutrients and rich in vitamins.
Cucumber has a slightly lower calorie (16 calories per cup of cucumber) compared to zucchini (19 calories per cup of zucchini).
These vegetables are just a bit different in carb content. Cucumber has 4g of carb while zucchini contains 5g of carbs.
On the other hand, Zucchini is richer in vitamins B and vitamin C compared to cucumber.
Zucchini has a slightly higher amount of essential nutrients like potassium, iron, manganese when compared to cucumber.
However, both contain relatively the same amount of calcium.
Protein and fiber
zucchini has a higher amount of protein and fiber, unlike cucumber.
Although zucchini and cucumber contain the same nutrients, carbohydrates and minerals, they are not in the same proportion.
Can I substitute cucumber for zucchini?
Cucumber cannot be substituted for zucchini. It can be used only when raw in place of zucchini when making some dishes like bread, sweet mix and sliced pickles.
The best substitute for zucchini is eggplant, yellow squash and pattypan, whereas the best substitute for cucumber is celery, squash and lettuce.
Zucchini vs Cucumber, these vegetables are quite different both in appearance, taste and usage, although they have similar shape and color.
They are highly recommended in every diet as they contain low carb, calories and sugar, but contain high essential nutrients and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Cucumber are best eaten raw and used in garnishing compared to zucchini which are used in cooking.