Go-Go Gadget: Citrus Zester

| Diet & Nutrition

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Have you ever worked on a recipe that called for lemon or orange zest and you just kind of skipped it because you didn’t have a zester? It might seem like “fluff” ingredient, but a citrus peel is very potent. Incorporating the zest can make the dish taste entirely different. Plus, citrus peels contain a heavy load of antioxidants and flavonoids, which boost the antioxidants and act as anti-inflammatories. A little zest packs a big punch. You can add it to nearly any dish, smoothie or cocktail. Try a few of the recipes below!

(Photo: citrus zester Photo Credit: Williams-Sonoma)

Stir Fry: Chop up some fresh veggies like broccoli, red bell pepper, snap green beans, carrots, some red onion and sweet corn. Add to chicken, pork or steak strips in a large skillet and let it all steam and cook together. Add your favorite sauce and some orange or lemon zest on top to balance the salty flavor with a refreshing citrus finish. Click here for Skinny Mom's Quick Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry, only 353 calories in 15 minutes.

Lemon Cavatelli: If you’re feeling fancy, take some time to make your own pasta by using flour, salt, water and lemon zest. You’ll need about half a dozen lemons for this one to reap the benefits from the oil inside the peels. It makes a delicious handcrafted pasta that would be totally satisfying with your favorite cheese sauce. Click here for the recipe!

Citrus Ginger Dressing: This oil-based dressing is perfect for summer salads and marinades. Using a grapefruit zest as the feature, you’ll need to balance the citrus with a little sour. Balsamic vinegar and fresh ginger root compliment it perfectly for a fresh and flavorful addition. Click here for the light and delish recipe.

>> Feeling inspired? Click here for 14 more easy homemade dressings.

Candied Lemon Zest: For those with a sweet tooth, you can make your own lemon candy. Instead of small flakes of lemon peel, create long, thin slices. You’ll boil them for a half hour and then add sugar to water until it dissolves. Throw the boiled slices into the sugar water for a few minutes and refrigerate the results. Add this to a cake or pastry for a sweet crunch. Click here for more details!

>> Read more: Desserts Under 150 Calories

No-Bake Key Lime Pie: An American classic, the key lime pie is a sweet, tart dessert perfect for any occasion. To make it easier on yourself, try using a no-bake recipe. Make or buy your own crust, then use cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and zest. Top it with fluffy dollops of a whipping cream and powdered sugar mix. Pop into the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to serve! Click here for the details.

Check out the OXO Good Grips Zester, or the fancy Norpro zester and striper, both under $10.