Zucchinis are here! But what to do with them? You could bake them into a bread like this one made by the always charming Kernels and Seeds. I often cube and sauté them to mix with pasta like in this Linguini with Clams recipe. If you just want something even more light and simple, for those giant zucchinis that some how were overlooked, these stuffed zucchini boats are your new favorite easy dinner!
My post-vacation sluggishness inspired a week of simple meals featuring heaps of fresh vegetables. Luckily, I didn't need to look far for inspiration. While we were on the road, our neighbor generously took charge of watering the vegetable garden. She did a marvelous job. So marvelous in fact, that I spent a good part of our first day home taming the abundance. Beneath mounds of overgrown narcissus I found a number of delicious treasures including some cheerful yellow summer squash and a couple of large zucchini. I couldn't wait to begin my week of restorative eating.
I happened to mention the zucchinis to my mom who eagerly offered to take any, "too big" specimens off my hands. Unfortunately (for her) she made the mistake of telling me how she planned to use them. Her plan was to recreate a recipe my grandmother used to make. She used a simple meat and breadcrumb mixture to create stuffed zucchini boats.
Inspired by the creativity of my mother and grandmother I declined the offer to share my harvest. That night I made my own version of Grandma's stuffed zucchini, with fresh tomatoes in place of her staple tomato paste and omitting the bread crumbs entirely. I am only a little sorry to say that I have blatantly stolen both of their ideas. Especially, now that I have used all my "too big" zucchini and can not share any as a peace offering.
However, I am not the least bit sorry about my own version of grandma's stuffed zucchini cooking method.
Over dinner I brainstormed other ways to make stuffed zucchini boats including: ricotta cheese, squash and black beans, marinara sauce, taco fixin's, and couscous (not all at the same time), and, don't forget Grandma's breadcrumbs! This is a great way to liven up leftovers. Just scoop them into a softened zucchini boat and you have a whole new dish. Have fun and enjoy!
Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese
- 2 large zucchini 10+ inches long, 2/12+ inches diameter
- ½ pound bulk turkey Italian sausage or links with casings removed
- ½ yellow onion diced
- 3 Roma or plum tomatoes
- 2 ounce chèvre with herbs soft goats cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350, then prep the Zucchini.
- Slice your clean zucchini from stem to bottom so you have two long pieces. Then scoop out the seeds using a small spoon. Leave about ½ inch of meat inside the skin so it holds its shape.
- Place your scooped-out halves into a baking dish and season with a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper.
- Bake the halves for about 15 - 20 minutes. They should be softened but not sagging.
- While the zucchini bakes, brown the sausage with the onion and slice the tomatoes.
- Once the zucchini are softened, remove them from the oven and reset the oven to broil.
- Layer the filling into the zucchini - sausage and onion, followed by a layer of tomato slices, topped with dots of cheese. Place the halves under the broiler for a few minutes. They are finished when the tops are toasty and the filling is heated through. (If your filling is cold, let the zucchini bake for a few additional minutes before increasing the temperature to broil.)