Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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I used to think I didn’t like zucchini – I’m not sure what I was thinking, it’s now one of my favorite veggies. I think the thing I like most about it is how versatile it is – it doesn’t have a very strong flavor, so it’s perfect in so many dishes without overpowering them. You’ve probably seen everyone spiralizing them in the place of pasta, but there are so many other ways to use them too – shredded into oats, diced into a stir-fry, roasted/grilled as a side dish, chopped into an omelette, diced into a chopped salad, sliced into “noodles” for lasagna – options are ENDLESS!

Now away from my “ode to courgettes” and onto this recipe (they are called courgettes here in the UK). I’ve seen people stuffing zucchinis for a while, and it’s been on my list of things to try out, but today I finally did it and LOVED the outcome. My husband thought they were tasty and filling, that’s worth something coming from a carb-loving man!

We plan to have these for dinner this week – I don’t think we’ll serve them with a side dish since we have the veggie component as part of the main dish!

Here’s how you make them (8-10 servings):

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  2. Slice the 10 zucchinis in half, lengthwise
  3. Take a melon baller (or metal spoon) and scoop out the inside of the veggie, set the hollowed out zucchinis on a baking tray (hollow side up) and put the flesh into a Tupperware container
  4. Bake the zucchinis for 20 minutes
  5. While the zucchinis bake, make the meat mixture. Put a large pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to heat up
  6. Add in 2 cups of chopped white onion and saute for 5 minutes
  7. Add in 2 lbs of ground beef and salt/pepper to taste – saute until beef isn’t pink anymore
  8. Once beef is cooked, add in 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato paste and 2 tbsp dried oregano – saute meat mixture another 5 minutes until everything is warmed through – set aside
  9. When zucchinis are ready, remove from the oven (keep the oven on, turn to a broil setting)
  10. Stuff each zucchini with a good serving of the meat mixture, top with tomato slices and sprinkle with cheese
  11. Throw the stuffed zucchinis back in the oven for 8-10 minutes to broil, or until the cheese is fully melted and starting to turn golden
  12. Once out of the oven, sprinkle them with a little oregano and they are DONE!

To note:

  • Don’t throw away the “innards” of the zucchini, this makes for a PERFECT smoothie add-in
  • You could make these with any meat you have on hand – sausage or ground turkey/chicken would be great
  • In this recipe I did an Italian flavoring, but if you wanted to go more Asian, Greek, etc. you could absolutely do that!
  • The pre-baking time of 20 minutes will leave you with a zucchini that’s still a little firm but not raw. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, based on your personal preference

Ingredients:

  • 10 zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano, plus a little for sprinkling at the end
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, sliced (you want about 40 slices)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese – I used about 1.5 cups total, adjust based on preference

I am so excited for you to try these – they are so delicious and couldn’t be simpler to make! As I mentioned earlier, they can be adjusted so easily depending on what ingredients you have on hand and/or what you are in the mood for. Here are some good combinations I was thinking of:

  • Sausage & peppers with cheddar
  • Chicen & caramelized onion with feta

Options are endless – enjoy!

Cheers!

CHH

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