Quick & Pretty Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchinis with tomatoes and goat cheese

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 this post has your name all over it!

My post-vacation sluggishness inspired a week of simply delicious meals. I didn’t have to look very 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 part of our first day home taming the abundance. Beneath mounds of overgrown narcissus I found a number of delicious treasures including cheerful yellow summer squash and zucchini. I couldn’t wait to begin my week of restorative eating.

rainbow carrots, beets, yellow squash, zucchini, buttercup squash, sunflower

I happened to mention the zucchinis to my mom and she hopefully offered to take any “too big” specimens off my hands.Unfortunately (for her) she made the mistake of telling me what she would do with it. Apparently my beautiful grandmother used to make some meat and breadcrumb stuffing for zucchini. I am only a little sorry to say that I have blatantly stolen both of their ideas. I also no longer have a “too big” zucchini left to share as a peace offering.

However, I am not the least bit sorry about my own version of grandma’s zucchini cooking method. I liked it so much that I am sharing it with you!

Zucchinis with tomatoes and goat cheese

Quick & Pretty Stuffed Zucchini

As soon as we dug into this fresh and flavorful creation I thought of a week’s worth of variations. The preparation is simple, and depending on your stuffing you should have this dinner on the table in 20 – 30 minutes.  Serves 2 as pictured, for more servings use more zucchini.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Then prep the Zucchini
  2. Pick 1 or more mature zucchinis for this dish.  Mine was just the right size to fit on our dinner plates so I called each half one serving.  Divide them however you like; really huge zucchinis may be 2 servings per half.
  3. Slice your clean zucchini from top to bottom so you have two long pieces.  Then scoop out the soft “meat” and seeds using a small spoon.  Leave about a 1/3 – to 1/2 inch of meat inside the skin.  It doesn’t have to be precise just enough so that it will hold its shape.
  4. Place your scooped-out halves into a baking dish and season with whatever sounds good.  I used an off-the-shelf seasoning blend, but a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper will work just fine.
  5. Bake the halves for about 15 – 20 minutes.  They should be softened but not sagging.
  6. Once they are soft, spoon in your filling and replace them in the oven 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 minutes before increasing the temperature to broil.)

Zucchinis with tomatoes and goat cheese

The Filling

This part is really up to you.  Get creative with whatever you happen to have on hand. Here is what I used:

  • Bottom layer – Toasted garlic, crimini or baby bella mushrooms, green onions, and Italian flavor turkey sausage links (one link per half, uncased and browned)
  • Middle layer – slices of fresh from the garden candy-sweet tomatoes and a dash more of seasoning
  • Top – dots of herb flavored soft goat cheese (1 oz per half)

Some of my other filling ideas included: 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 would be a great way to liven up leftovers.  Just scoop them into your softened zucchini boat and pretend they are a brand new dish.  Have fun and enjoy!

Zucchinis with tomatoes and goat cheese

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