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Vegetarian Recipes

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

https://www.loveandlemons.com/stuffed-zucchini-boats/

Zucchini season is upon us! For me, this time of year is always a race to enjoy summer squash in as many ways as possible. I bake it into cake, blend it into soup, toss it into pasta, layer it into lasagna, and eat it right off the grill. This year, I’m adding a new recipe to my usual rotation: stuffed zucchini! I first made these a few weeks ago for my family and even my little 2-year old nephew, who is going through a no-zucchini phase, gobbled his up.

These easy stuffed zucchini boats are a simple, fresh, and delicious showcase for peak-season summer squash. I don’t let any of the zucchini go to waste here, as I load up the zucchini shells with a bright, lemony filling that includes the scooped zucchini flesh. This recipe works best with medium-large zucchini (larger squash = more space for filling), so it’s one that you can continue to make as the season progresses and the squash get bigger. I hope you love it as much as we do!


Stuffed zucchini boats ingredients


Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini Recipe Ingredients

This stuffed zucchini recipe requires just a few every day ingredients and comes together in under 30 minutes. Here’s all you need:

  • Zucchini, of course! I use it 2 ways, stuffing the shells with a zucchini-loaded filling.
  • Egg binds the filling together.
  • Coarse breadcrumbs create a delicious body for the filling – the top gets toasty, while the inside stays moist.
  • Parmesan adds melty, cheesy texture and umami flavor.
  • Garlic punches it up.
  • Cherry tomatoes dot the filling with sweet, juicy bites.
  • Pine nuts add crunch and richness.
  • Lemon zest and thyme give it a bright, fresh finish.

That’s it! Let’s cook.

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed vegetables may seem fussy, but they’re deceptively simple. As with my stuffed bell peppers and stuffed poblanos, these come together in just a few steps. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Cut the zucchini! Halve them lengthwise and hollow out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick rim around each half.
  2. Make the filling. Chop any large pieces of scooped flesh and transfer it all to a kitchen strainer. Press out any excess moisture, and then add the zucchini flesh to a bowl with the egg, breadcrumbs, cherry tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest, Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, and salt. Mix until everything’s well combined.
  3. Load up the zucchini. Drizzle the zucchini shells with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spoon in the filling.
  4. Bake! Transfer the stuffed squash to a 475-degree oven and bake until the filling is set & nicely golden brown, 16-18 minutes.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini Recipe Tips

We made this stuffed zucchini recipe (originally inspired by the stuffed zucchini in the Ottolenghi Simple cookbook) a few times this summer. Following these tips yielded the best results every time:

  • Squeeze out as much water as you can from the zucchini flesh before stirring it into the filling. You don’t want it to be watery! Chop any bigger zucchini chunks into small pieces before adding them to the seedy, pulpy innards and pressing them over a kitchen strainer.
  • Don’t scoop too much. Make sure you leave a sturdy border of zucchini flesh to support the yummy filling. If you scoop too much, your stuffed zucchini boats will be flimsy.
  • Make your own breadcrumbs. Better bread = better bread crumbs, so find a good baguette or loaf of crusty bread for this recipe. Tear it into chunks and pulse them in a food processor to create coarse crumbs for the filling. Enjoy the remaining bread on the side!
  • Top them with pesto. These stuffed zucchini boats are great on their own, but a drizzle of pesto really takes them over the top. Make your own or use store-bought pesto in a pinch.

What to Serve with Stuffed Zucchini Boats

We like these stuffed zucchini boats as a main or side dish. If you make this recipe with 3 medium zucchini, it serves 6 as a side, if you make it with 2 large zucchini, it serves 4 as a main course along with a side dish. They’d be delicious served with refreshing gazpacho or watermelon gazpacho, this easy summer pasta salad, pesto pasta, or any of these yummy summer salads:

If you love this stuffed zucchini recipe…

Try my baked zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini pizza, zucchini pasta, or zucchini panzanella next!

Stuffed Zucchini

Author: Jeanine Donofrio

Recipe type: Main dish or side dish

  • 2 large or 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup torn crusty bread, crumbled
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Pesto, for serving
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Use a small spoon to hollow out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a little more than ¼-inch thickness around the edges. Place them cut side-up on the baking sheet.
  3. Make the filling. Place the scooped-out zucchini flesh into a mesh strainer and gently press out any excess water. You should be left with 1 cup flesh. Chop any coarse pieces and transfer to a medium bowl with the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, tomatoes, lemon zest, thyme, pine nuts, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix until combined, using your hands if necessary.
  4. Drizzle the hollowed-out zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon in the filling and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until the filling is set and is golden brown and crisp on top.
  5. Serve with pesto.
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Vegetarian Recipes

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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