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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Italian Zucchini Boats
Healthy Zucchini Boats stuffed with lean Italian turkey sausage and tomatoes, topped with Parmesan breadcrumbs. A quick, easy, and delicious low-carb dinner!
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 4 zucchini, 5 to 6 inches long
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound ground Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus additional for serving
- Place a rack in the upper third of your oven. Preheat to 425 degrees F.
- Halve the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and discard the seeds. Then, scoop out the soft center flesh to create shallow zucchini “shells,” with walls about 1/2 inch thick, reserving the center flesh. Arrange the zucchini shells in a baking dish. Roughly chop the center flesh and set it aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the sausage, onion, and bell pepper. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, break apart the sausage, sautéing it together with the vegetables, until the onions are soft and the sausage is browned and fully cooked, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- 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. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as desired.
- Toast the bread slices, then tear them into large pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the basil and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until the bread is broken into large crumbs. Add the Parmesan and pulse just until incorporated, 2 or 3 times.
- Fold half of the basil bread crumbs into the sausage mixture. With a small spoon, mound the sausage stuffing into the shells, then sprinkle the tops of the stuffed zucchini with the remaining bread crumbs. Roast in oven until the zucchini is heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Enjoy immediately.
- Tip: Grate cheese the easy way! Before starting the recipe, grate an entire wedge of Parmesan cheese right in your food processor. Cut the wedge into chunks, place them in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, then pulse until ground. Measure out and set aside the 1/2 cup needed for the recipe. Store the remainder in your refrigerator for weeks. You’ll always have fresh Parm on hand! Then proceed with making the stuffed zucchini, no need to wash the processor bowl in between.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a casserole dish the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. If the bread crumbs start to brown too much, loosely tent the dish with foil. I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as the zucchini will likely become mushy.
- To make the recipe gluten free, use gluten-free bread. To make the recipe dairy free, omit the Parmesan (or try replacing it with nutritional yeast).
Serving Size: 1 (of 4)
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 321 Calories
- Total Fat: 22g
- Saturated Fat: 6g
- Cholesterol: 34mg
- Sodium: 541mg
- Carbohydrates: 18g
- Fiber: 4g
- Sugar: 7g
- Protein: 18g
Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!