Garlicky Zucchini and Sweet Potato

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published October 1, 2023

Top your sweet potato with this tasty zucchini sauté.

This vibrant, plant-powered creation is not only a feast for the senses but also a wholesome addition to your diabetes-friendly repertoire. Bursting with colorful vegetables and seasoned with the aromatic charm of garlic, this recipe is designed to excite your palate while supporting your wellness goals. 

Whether you're seeking to manage diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, or simply savor a plate of goodness, our Garlicky Zucchini and Sweet Potato is here to satisfy your cravings, nourish your body, and ignite your passion for whole food, plant-based eating. So, let's roll up our sleeves, gather our ingredients, and embark on a culinary journey that celebrates the vibrant world of fruits and vegetables. Your taste buds are in for a treat!

Sweet Potatoes: Nutrient-Rich and Diabetes-Friendly Superfood

Sweet potatoes are not only a delicious addition to your diet but also offer a range of nutritional benefits. They are particularly advantageous for people living with diabetes due to their relatively low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). Let's explore the nutritional profile and diabetes-friendly characteristics of sweet potatoes:

Vitamins and Minerals: Sweet potatoes are a rich source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes are exceptionally high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. A single sweet potato can provide several times your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, which is vital for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function.

  • Vitamin C: Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune function and collagen production.

  • Fiber: They are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help regulate blood glucose levels, improve digestive health, and promote satiety.

  • Potassium: Sweet potatoes are a potassium-rich food, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

  • Vitamin B6: This vitamin plays a role in energy metabolism and brain function.

  • Manganese: Manganese is involved in bone formation and helps the body process carbohydrates and fats.

Sweet potatoes have a relatively low glycemic index, especially when compared to other starchy foods like white potatoes or rice. The exact GI of sweet potatoes can vary based on factors such as variety, cooking method, and ripeness, but they typically fall in the low to medium range. The GI of sweet potatoes can range from 44 to 94, with an average value of around 70.

However, the glycemic load of sweet potatoes is often more important to consider for people with diabetes. Glycemic load takes into account both the GI and the portion size of a food. 

Sweet potatoes have a moderate glycemic load, meaning that when consumed in reasonable portions, they have a relatively modest impact on blood glucose levels. The glycemic load of a food can also vary depending on how it's prepared; for instance, boiled sweet potatoes tend to have a lower glycemic load compared to baked or mashed sweet potatoes.

In summary, sweet potatoes are a nutritious choice for people living with diabetes due to their rich nutrient profile, dietary fiber content, and moderate glycemic load. They can be part of a balanced diet when consumed in appropriate portions and prepared in ways that minimize spikes in blood glucose levels. 

Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to create a personalized meal plan that suits your individual needs and helps you manage your diabetes effectively.

Healthy and Flavorful: Cooking with Low Sodium Vegetable Broth Instead of Oil

When it comes to preparing healthy and flavorful dishes like our Garlicky Zucchini and Sweet Potato recipe, one fantastic alternative to oil is low-sodium vegetable broth. This substitution not only reduces unnecessary added fats but also brings a delightful depth of flavor to your culinary creations.

Here's why using low sodium vegetable broth can be a game-changer:

1. Reduced Fat Content: Vegetable broth is virtually fat-free, making it an excellent choice for those looking to lower their overall fat intake. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to maintain a healthy weight.

2. Flavor Enhancement: Low sodium vegetable broth adds a savory and aromatic dimension to your dishes. It infuses your ingredients with a rich umami taste that can elevate the overall taste profile, making your meals more satisfying.

3. Healthier Cooking Process: By sautéing or stir-frying your ingredients with vegetable broth instead of oil, you can achieve a similar result with fewer calories and less saturated fat. This aligns with a plant-based, whole food approach to cooking, which emphasizes the use of unprocessed, natural ingredients.

4. Enhanced Nutrient Retention: Cooking with vegetable broth helps preserve the nutritional value of your ingredients. Unlike oil, which can break down certain nutrients when exposed to high heat, broth allows your vegetables to retain their essential vitamins and minerals.

Zucchini: A Nutrient-Packed and Diabetes-Friendly Superstar

Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be a valuable addition to the diets of people living with diabetes. Zucchini is a low-calorie vegetable that offers a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C: Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune function and skin health.

  • Vitamin A: It contains beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body, contributing to healthy vision and immune function.

  • Potassium: Zucchini is rich in potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and maintain proper muscle and nerve function.

  • Folate: Folate is essential for cell division and can be beneficial for pregnant individuals.

  • Dietary Fiber: Zucchini is a good source of dietary fiber, which can aid in blood sugar control by slowing the absorption of glucose, promoting satiety, and supporting digestive health.

Zucchini has a very low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). The GI measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels, while the GL takes into account the portion size of the food. Zucchini's low GI and GL mean that it has minimal impact on blood sugar levels when consumed in reasonable portions.

Because of its low GI and GL, zucchini is considered a diabetes-friendly food. It can be included in meals to help stabilize blood glucose levels and manage diabetes. It's important to note that while zucchini itself is low in carbohydrates, the way you prepare it can affect its overall impact on blood sugar. 

For instance, frying zucchini in oil or adding high-sugar sauces may increase its glycemic load. Therefore, it's advisable to prepare zucchini using diabetes-friendly cooking methods, such as grilling, steaming, or sautéing with minimal added fats and sugars.

In summary, zucchini is a nutritious vegetable that can be beneficial for people living with diabetes due to its low glycemic index and glycemic load, as well as its rich vitamin and mineral content. Including zucchini in your diabetes meal plan can help you maintain stable blood glucose levels while enjoying its delicious and versatile culinary possibilities.

Garlicky Zucchini and Sweet Potato

Beverly Verwey
Servings 1 person
Calories 401 kcal


  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 medium zuccihinis sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Prepare by scrubbing the potato and wrap with foil and bake the sweet potato for 1 hour.
  • Near the end of the baking time sauté the zucchini, garlic and yellow peppers in the vegetable broth over medium-high heat until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes Add a small amount of water if necessary to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.
  • Stir in the black pepper, parsley and nutritional yeast.
  • Once the potato is cooked cut in half lengthwise and top with the zucchini mixture.


Use any color bell pepper you wish. Top the zucchini mixture on top of baked russet potatoes or large baked portobello mushroom for a different taste.


Calories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 53.3gProtein: 27gFat: 4gSodium: 132.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.