Stuffed zucchini and roasted veggies
Back when I lived in Boston and rarely got home before 9 pm on a typical workday, I would make four or five dishes over the weekend to eat for lunch and dinner throughout the week. Free dinners on the company get old after a while and are never the healthiest choice, so I would often bring in my own food. Here in Sydney, my hours are far better, but by the time I get home, I want to eat immediately, so still like having leftovers in the refrigerator to heat up for dinners and lunches. (Ideal nights as of late have been racing home in time for the 7 pm Master Chef episode and eating healthy meals while longingly watching the ridiculously indulgent food they make.)
Long history as to why I cook vegetarian (although I make exceptions for dinner parties of course), but suffice it to say it involved doing a piece of research for my job where I learned about intensive farming practices for chickens and was grossed out enough to not eat chicken for months. I have no problem with eating meat and seafood and will eagerly eat absolutely anything when I go out to eat, but at home, I love my vegetarian food. I think it’s such a misconception that vegetarian food can’t be filling or delicious – I love vegetables just as much as I love chocolate, and I always feel great after a few days of eating clean vegetarian meals.
I made this stuffed zucchini recipe a few weeks ago and liked it so much I had to make it again. It’s incredibly filling, looks great, and has fairly minimal prep time. I found it through one of the many blogs on Tastespotting, my absolute favourite website to
waste time on browse during the day. In fact, almost every single recipe I cook is from there, so check out the site for continual inspiration.
Stuffed Zucchini (adapted from The Comfort of Cooking)
Makes 2-4 servings, depending on if you want it as a side dish or a full meal
2 medium zucchini
2 garlic cloves, minced (I admit to loving the minced garlic in a jar…so much easier to just take a teaspoon or two of that)
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms (I used half a package and put the rest in a stir fry)
A shake of dried spices, like oregano, basil, or just mixed Italian seasoning
A shake of crushed red pepper flakes (if you wish)
1 teaspoon olive oil (I always use olive oil quite sparingly, but you could use more)
1/4-3/4 cups shredded parmesan cheese, depending on how much you like cheese
Fresh basil if you have it on hand
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C. (That’s right Americans, I speak in Celsius now. Deal with it.)
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp and seeds with a small spoon, leaving a thin shell. Reserve the pulp and add it to a bowl with the garlic, tomato, mushrooms, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil and about half the cheese in a medium bowl. Mix it all up real nice.
Put the zucchini shells in a baking dish and divide the mixture among them (if it overflows, just put it around the sides of the pan). Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Remove the foil, sprinkle with some more cheese if you want, and then bake uncovered for 5 minutes more or until the cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil if you wish before serving.
The mushrooms and tomatoes all chopped up
Hollowing out the zucchini into the bowl with the rest of the veggies
The hollow canvases for your veggie mix
Sprinkling the cheese into the mix
I ate two of these for dinner tonight and will enjoy the other two for a lunch sometime later this week. I also roasted a quick batch of green beans and one other zucchini to eat on the side with my favourite butternut squash soup (will have to post that recipe later). You simply trim the veggies, put in a pan, drizzle lightly with a high quality olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary and thyme. I love getting a great flavour infused olive oil at a farmer’s market, such as one with lemon, lime, or herbs. I always end up buying these olive oils because I feel so guilty after tasting every single one at the market while eating about 17 of their bread samples. Then just cook in a 200 degree C / 400 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they taste cooked but still crispy.
Perfect side to a soup or a meat, if you swing that way.