Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini is my remedy for two favorite summertime problems: 1) Being far too occupied frolicking outdoors to complete silly household tasks like cooking (I may or may not have served cheese omelets for dinner three nights last week), and 2) Mass zucchini overload.
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Zucchini proliferation is so rampant, my coworkers have begun to leave boxes of it on unguarded file cabinets. Personally, I think this is a lovely way to spread the squash wealth to those of us who—counting on the zeal of our neighbors and coworkers—didn’t plant any zucchini of our own. I suggest that we thank our zucchini-planting friends (and give ourselves a break from the zucchini bread) by inviting them over for a healthy plate of Stuffed Zucchini.

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Stuffed Zucchini is a fast, affordable, and satisfying dish that elevates the humble zucchini into a special meal. Ready in less than 30 minutes, Stuffed Zucchini is jam-packed (literally) with the goodness of late summer.

Stuffed Zucchini // Well-Plated

Our Stuffed Zucchini filling is a tasty combination of Italian flavors: fresh basil, tomato, bell peppers, and Pecorino Romano cheese. In place of pork sausage, we’re using Italian turkey sausage, but because we have so many bright summery flavors rocking out inside of each zucchini, you (and the lucky neighbors you invited over for dinner) won’t even notice the switch.

To make our Stuffed Zucchini even more marvelous, we’re topping it with fresh basil breadcrumbs. A quick trip through the food processor transforms whole-wheat sandwich bread, a bit of melted butter, basil leaves, and freshly grated cheese into a golden crust that bakes into a cheesy, toasty “lid” atop each Stuffed Zucchini. Feel free to scrape any loose crumbs from pan with your fingers and lick with abandon.
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No need to drop the squash and ditch, because when Stuffed Zucchini is on the menu, you’ll want to keep every precious squash for your own table!

To help alleviate mass zucchini overload nationwide, I’ll be sharing another fantastic zucchini recipe later this week. Hint: Zucchini—it’s what’s for breakfast, and even your kids will love it. Stay tuned.

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Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini Boats loaded with turkey sausage, basil, red peppers, and tomatoes. This quick dinner is healthy and a celebration of summer flavors.


Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:


  • 4 zucchini squashes, 5-6 inches long

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 pound ground italian turkey sausage, casings removed

  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

  • 2 regular slices whole wheat sandwich bread

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano, finely grated


Directions:


  1. Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat to 425 degrees F.

  2. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and discard. Then, scoop out the soft center flesh to create shallow zucchini “shells”, each about 1/2 inch thick, reserving the center flesh. Arrange the zucchini shells in a baking dish. Roughly chop center flesh and set aside.

  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high, then add the sausage, onion, and bell pepper together. Using a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula, break apart and brown the sausage, sautéing it together with the vegetables, until the onions are soft and the sausage is fully cooked, 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook 1 additional minute, until tomato paste is broken down and incorporated. Add in the reserved zucchini flesh and heat through for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

  5. Toast the bread slices in a toaster or toaster oven, then tear into large pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor, along with the basil and melted butter. Pulse until break is broken into large crumbs. Add Pecorino-Romano and pulse just until incorporated 2 or 3 times (Tip: Grate your cheese in the food processor first, remove from food processor bowl, then proceed with step as directed in this step. No need to wash the bowl in between.)

  6. Fold half of the basil crumbs into sausage mixture. With a small spoon, mound the zucchini stuffing in to the shells, then sprinkle the tops of the stuffed zucchini with remaining bread crumbs. Roast in oven until the zucchini is heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden, 13-15 minutes. Enjoy immediately.


Stuffed Zucchini Boats loaded with turkey sausage, basil, red peppers, and tomatoes. This quick dinner is healthy and a celebration of summer flavors.


All images and text ©/Well Plated.

I originally shared this recipe at Food Fanatic, where I contribute as the “Stealthy Healthy” blogger, sharing dishes like healthy Peach Crisp for Breakfast, Avocado Ice Cream, and today’s Stuffed Zucchini.

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

22 comments

  1. Haha – I need to come to your office and check “unguarded file cabinets” for zucchini!!!
    These zucchini look delish – but I am not quite able to connect to the “food fanatic” site – maybe its my computer…will try later….

  2. I’d be okay if you gave me a break from zucchini bread! :) I need a savory zucchini recipe – though cheese omelets don’t sound that bad. Gorgeous pics!

  3. Stuffed zucchinis are my favourite but your version sounds much much better than mine. Wow, look at how much deliciousness, I think I might actually like this better than zucchini bread :D

  4. This looks like a fantastic addition to the busy weeknight!!

  5. Hi Erin! We have a zucchini plant growing in our front yard and it has been producing, producing, producing! I’ll have to make these stuffed zucchini…and soon! Thank you for sharing with me! I hope you have a wonderful start to your week.

  6. Yuuum! I love zucchini! It’s a strange thing to say, as I used to hate them as a child (I think it was the slightly ambiguous flavour, the ‘squeaky teeth’ phenomenon and the slight ‘sliminess’). The stuffing for these zucchini sounds wonderful… basil breadcrumbs?! Yes please!!! Heading over to Food Fanatic now! xx

  7. Totally need to stuff me a zucchini asap! Yours look wonderful, Erin.

  8. please feel free to send me extra zucchinis :)

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  10. seriously love you. fun to read, great ideas, makes me wanna cook something. Im a vegan and am trying to get my boyfriend to also be vegan so yummy tofu recipes is where its at….. xoxox thankyou.

    • Hey Briana! Thanks so much for your kind words–totally makes my day! I have a few vegan recipes on here, but otherwise, many of my recipes (especially stir fries and even this stuffed zucchini) can be easily adapted to be vegan. I love tofu myself, but still working on bringing the Mr. around. Maybe I can start sneaking it in without telling him? Thanks again and have a great day!

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