Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Since I am still trying to eat a variety of vegetables daily (despite the fact that I no longer need to track my vegetable intake for my health benefits program) I decided to make a vegetable full, fall inspired dish – Stuffed Zucchini. 

What I love about Stuffed Zucchini (or any other vegetable for that matter, like Stuffed Acorn Squash) is that you can really tailor the recipe to what you have on hand.  I went with the classic mirepoix (carrots, celery, and onions) as my main filler outside of the zucchini and pork sausage since I think it adds great color and flavor. You can just as easily omit the extra veggies – it just means your filling will not be as “full” in the zucchini vessel.

Stuffed Zucchini

My favorite part about this Stuffed Zucchini recipe is that both my kids ate it without a fuss.  Lately they have been picky or crabby and I’m relieved when they eat a good serving of vegetables without a ton of coaxing.  I should also mention that it was a hit with my husband.  In fact, I had to rush to get some photos in so that he could eat the serving I had set aside for my photography. I count that as a successful dinner!

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Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium sized zucchini (about 2.5 pounds)
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup diced yellow onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrot
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
½ cup freshly grated pecorino-Romano cheese
¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 lb hot Italian pork sausage
½ cup shredded mozzarella

 

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out the center and dice the scooped out zucchini “meat”. Place a saute pan over medium heat and add oil.  Once oil is warm, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery and diced zucchini and saute another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add to a large bowl, along with garlic, pecorino-Romano cheese, breadcrumbs, and sausage and combine until well mixed.  Evenly divide between the eight zucchini halves and fill the zucchini cavity.  Place stuffed zucchini on a large baking sheet and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until meat is fully cooked.  During the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle with mozzarella and return to oven to melt cheese.  Remove from oven and serve.

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Squash Spaghetti

Eat your vegetables! I’m sure we can all name one (or two) people whom frequently need this reminder. Sometimes I am looking for a way to make encourage my kids to each more vegetables, and other times I am just looking for a way to create a tasty & light side dish that delights mature eaters.

I have been intrigued by the idea of squash spaghetti and decided to give it a whirl. I cut zucchini and yellow squash into spaghetti-like ribbons (you can use a julienne peeler, as pictured below, or another specialty too like this which produces more fettuccine like ribbons).

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Surprisingly, raw squash spaghetti is the best tasting. I have tried a quick saute, but it seemed to enhance the squash/almost pumpkin-like flavors that didn’t go over well with my family.  That’s fine with me since the raw noodles are (1) quicker, (2) creates less clean-up, and (3) healthier.

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 I simply tossed my “noodles” with some sun-dried tomatoes, a bit of Caesar salad dressing, and a bit of pecorino-Romano cheese.

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Squash Spaghetti

1 lb zucchini and yellow squash (about 4 medium-sized squash, 2 of each kind)

½ cup Caesar salad dressing

½ cup sundried tomatoes, drained

½ cup shredded Pecorino-Romano cheese

Using a julienne peeler or vegetable spiral slicer, create raw noodles from both the zucchini and yellow squash (you should have ~8 cups of noodles). Place in a large bowl and stir in the salad dressing and sundried tomatoes. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then divide between 4 plates and evenly sprinkle the cheese over the pasta.

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Zucchini & Sweet Pepper Gazpacho

As is typical, I brought home a bounty of fresh vegetables from the local farmers market this week. Since there is no time like the present, I decided a refreshing gazpacho was in order for lunch.

Gazpacho, a chilled soup originating from Spain, typically consists of pureed tomato, chopped vegetables and a garnish of croutons or hard-boiled eggs. I’ve taken a more liberal approach to my version of gazpacho today, and replaced the tomato with zucchini and sweet peppers.

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I started with two globe zucchini, two sweet red peppers (one Italian Bullhorn and the other Aconcagua) and one ear of Peaches & Cream corn.

I decided to serve the soup in the globe zucchini, so I cut the tops off the squash and scooped out the insides, saving the insides for the soup. Next I diced the peppers after removing the seeds and membranes, and then cut the corn kernels off the cob.

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I reserved a bit of the peppers and corn to stir into the soup later, and placed the rest in a food processor with the zucchini meat and water and pureed until smooth. I then poured the soup into a large bowl, and stirred in the remainder of my ingredients, including green onions and horseradish.

To serve, I poured some into by globe zucchini bowls, making sure to include crackers on the side. This zucchini-pepper gazpacho was just as refreshing as the tomato-based variety, and a most tasty lunch!

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Zucchini & Sweet Pepper Gazpacho

2 globe zucchini
1 ear sweet corn
2 sweet red peppers
3 green onions, diced
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons grated horseradish
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

Cut off the top of the globe squash and reserve, then scoop out the insides of the squash, leaving about ¼ inch shell. Place the squash meat in a food processor and refrigerate the squash bowls and bowl tops until ready to serve. Remove the corn kernels from the ear of corn, and then remove the sees and membranes from the peppers and dice the peppers. Reserve ¼ cup of both the corn and peppers, and add the remainder to the food processor. Blend the squash, corn, and peppers until smooth, and then pour into a large bowl. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients and chill until ready to serve. Serve in the squash bowls, or cups.

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