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Vegetarian Zucchini Boats

I recently cooked for several girlfriends on a birthday trip and, as usual, I bought way too much food.  One of the items I made was steak & veggie kabobs.  They were a hit, but I had several squashes & zucchini that I didn’t even use.

I really like eggplant, squash, & zucchini but they can be tricky.  They have a high water content, need to be seasoned just right, & a lot of people don’t like the texture.  I normally just slice them & saute with sliced onions, salt & pepper and the family enjoys that.  I’ve also been know to stuff an eggplant with a similar mixture.

This time around, I wanted to do something different so I decided to make zucchini boats.  They are just so cute & easy – like a baby sister version of a stuffed eggplant.  I made a simple vegetarian version (not vegan) that could be served as a side dish or entrée.

Vegetarian Zucchini Boats

This recipe serves 4 as a side, 2 max as an entrée.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large zucchini
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, diced or homemade salsa
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (optional if you are using salsa or just don’t love garlic)
  • fresh mozzarella
  • chopped parsley (flat leaf) or basil for sprinkling on top if you want to get fancy

The Process

  1. Cut the tips off the zucchini & cut in half lengthwise.
  2. Using a teaspoon, scoop the pulp from inside the zucchini & dice it into small pieces
    • Tip:  it should scoop out easily, leaving the “shell” very sturdy.  If you are having a hard time, you are trying to scoop out too much.
  3. If you are using tomatoes & garlic, dice them small along with the zucchini pulp.  Skip this step if you are using salsa.
  4. Coat the empty “boat” with olive oil, then season it & the diced pulp (tomato) mixture with salt & pepper.
  5. Load the zucchini boat with the pulp mixture.
  6. If you are using salsa, layer it on top of the pulp in the boat.
  7. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes.
    • While that’s baking, slice up enough fresh mozzarella to top the boats
  8. Remove the boats from the oven, lay slices of fresh mozzarella on top, & bake until the cheese is melted & bubbly.

As you can see in the last photo, the zucchini boats render a lot of liquid.  I bake these on parchment paper over a rack set on top of a baking sheet.  When they are done, I cut or poke holes in the parchment paper to let the liquid drain through the rack down to the baking sheet.

Zucchini boats can be served as a main dish or as a side.  There are so many variations that you can make them into anything you & your family loves.

Added bonus – kids can have lots of fun making these & they are more likely to eat what they help make!  You could lay out all sorts of ingredients & let them create; options include:

  • cooked ground meat or sausage
  • BACON!  Bits in the filling or sprinkled on top.  Bacon makes everything better!
  • all sorts of veggies, of course
    • onions
    • peppers – jalapeño, bell (red, yellow, orange & green), pepperoncini
    • artichokes
  • try different types of cheeses
    • gruyère
    • cheddar
    • gouda

Like making pizza, this is a great opportunity to introduce new things in a fun way.  Give it a try, experiment & see how it goes!

Enjoy!

\ní-ˈkō-lä\

N'Ckyola "Nikki" Green

I love food & wine, paint & power tools. I am a creative introvert, programmer turned decorator, wife and mom, & mental health advocate. I am the decorator owner of Xtraordinary by Design. My mission - rid the world of builder beige & furniture sets.

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