Zucchini Fest – Italian stuffed zucchini

Welcome to Zucchini Fest! (hereafter abbreviated as ZF) Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be featuring a famously prolific summer vegetable, and I’ve enlisted some helpers for some fantastically diverse recipes, so look forward to some guests coming up.

Today, I’ve got a fun one to kick us off. I don’t know why, but stuffed food seems fancy to me – stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers, stuffed tomatoes – everyday ingredients when mixed up and put in a hollowed vegetable are elevated beyond the everyday fare.

Several years ago, I found a recipe for stuffed zucchini in a Family Fun magazine. My version is very close to the original with just a few time-saving tweaks. This is a great veggie-heavy main dish. It kind of tastes like pizza on a zucchini but much healthier! I also like this recipe because it features zucchini in the main dish when it’s so commonly seen as a side. So enjoy ZF!

Italian stuffed zucchini
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 c. chopped mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained well
  • dashes of assorted Italian dried herbs (basil, parsley, etc)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 c. dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 T. finely chopped pepperoni or cooked bacon (optional)

1. Cook whole zucchini in boiling water for about 1 1/2 minutes to tenderize. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh with spoon. Leave at least 1/4 inch “shell.” Finely chop the scooped flesh and squeeze/drain to remove excess water.

3. Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add onion and zucchini flesh and sauté, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for 2 more minutes.

4. Add tomatoes, dried herbs, and salt and pepper, cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add bread crumbs, parmesan, and pepperoni.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking dish. Put filling into zucchini halves and place in dish.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

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