I always stuff peppers but when I recently found some relly good looking zucchini at the grocery store, I thought they would make a different kind of healthy meal. By this time of the year, I’ve usually already prepared zucchini in so many ways including sautéeing, slicing into ribbons and a lot of grilling, so I decided to stuff it! You could use just about any variation of ingredients that you can think of to fill your boats, but since I typically utilize ingredients that I have on hand in my fridge and pantry, that is how I prepared this batch. I transformed some leftovers, but I’ll also give some suggestions of other options within the recipe below.
Zucchini actually falls under the umbrella of summer squash, which are squashes that get harvested before their rinds harden unlike, say, pumpkins and butternut squash.
Even though zucchini is served as a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit because it comes from a flower: it grows from a golden blossom that blooms under the leaves. They don’t normally sell the blooms in the grocery store, but you can find them at farmers’ markets. The most popular way to prepare and eat them is fried or stuffed.
I could totally see these zucchinis hollowed out and stuffed with sausage and topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
3 Large Zucchini
1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Jalapeno, roasted, peeled and chopped (optional)
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 Egg, beaten
3/4 lb. Ground Beef (could use Italian Sausage or Pork)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cup Stuffing (prepared and cooked, optional and could use cooked rice or croutons)
Pumpkin Puree (because I had it leftover, but I could see a nice Marinara Sauce)
Cheese, shredded of your choice
Chop vegetables you wish to use within the filling and wash and boil the zucchini’s whole for about 10 minutes.
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil and saute the chopped onions and hamburger
Once the beef is browned, add the garlic and cook for an additional two minutes or so. Drain the fat and set aside.
In the same pan, saute the peppers until just soft and return the beef to the pan and allow it to cool slightly.
Whisk the egg and add the pre-cooked stuffing. Then combine with the ground beef mixture with the peppers and the egg.
when the zucchini is par-cooked, remove it from the water and allow it to cool enough to handle. Then slice it lengthwise and scoop out the center, leaving a little flesh to form a boat.
Put a little of the sauce of your choice in the bottom of the baking dish.
Place the filled the zucchini boats on the sauce and top each with the shredded cheese.
Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes until they are heated through and the cheese bubbles and has browned on top. Serve hot!
For us this was a complete meal since we had all of the food groups in it! Bill paired this meal with a 2013 Cline Grenache that we recently receive as part of a wine club membership.
The squash was soft, but yet a bit firm and the filling was delicious!