Hello, friends! I’m starting off this week with another fabulous garden-to-table dish that is packed with delicious fresh veggies and is easy to make!
Last week I made a scrumptious taco stuffed summer squash recipe that is definitely going to become a staple in my menu rotation. It was super simple to throw together and my husband really loved it! Riding on the heels of the stuffed squash boats, I thought I’d try my hand at doing something very similar with another favorite summer time vegetable – zucchini!
Every year I try to think of new ways to use up the zucchini I pick from our garden. I always wind up making a few loaves of zucchini (or squash) bread, but this year when we planted zucchini in our garden, I made it a personal challenge to myself to really get creative with the zucchini and go beyond the same ol’ recipes I’ve been making for years.
My husband recently brought home an amazing zucchini dish that one of his co-workers prepared and brought to work for him to try (thanks, Sheila!) It was SO very good, and I knew I just had to find a way to recreate it so I could enjoy it over and over again.
After a few tweaks to the original recipe, I came up with these fabulous little cheesy stuffed Italian zucchini boats that are seriously to-die for! I’m starting to think that my zucchini plants aren’t going to be able to produce fast enough to keep up with how often I want to make this! 😉
I picked one LARGE zucchini plant from our garden and cut it lengthwise a few times until I had several wedges that were roughly 3-4 inches long. Using a spoon, I scooped out the fleshy insides and seeds into a bowl.
Next, I preheated the oven to 350F and lined a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I placed all of the zucchini boats onto the foil and drizzled a little olive oil, sea salt and Italian seasoning on top before baking them for about 15 minutes.
While the zucchini was baking in the oven, I got out a large skillet and started to cook the diced onion, green bell peppers and 1/2 cup of the leftover zucchini until all ingredients were tender. Next I added in some diced Conecuh sausage and let it cook just a few minutes longer (See full recipe with measurements below.)
Next, I added in some Italian seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and gave it a good stir. This created the “filling” that will go inside the zucchini boats.
Once the zucchini came out of the oven, I filled each boat with the filling and topped with a little bit of extra cheese for good measure. I placed the baking sheet back into the oven and cooked for another 10-12 minutes.
My house smelled SO amazing while this was cooking away in the oven. All of the seasonings blended together really well and the flavors were outstanding. This is a wonderful way to utilize lots of fresh vegetables that are in season during the summer, and it’s definitely one that I’ll be making for as long as I’m able to cook!
- 1 LARGE zucchini (or 2-3 small zucchini) cut lengthwise into fourths
- ½ cup diced Conecuh sausage
- ½ cup mashed zucchini (scraped from the inside when making the "boats")
- ½ small onion - diced
- ½ small green pepper - diced
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- ½ cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- dash of sea salt
- Cut zucchini into fourths, creating wedges that are about 3-4 inches long
- Using a spoon, scrape out the inside of each piece of zucchini, creating a "boat" to hold the filling
- Reserve ½ cup of zucchini insides and mash it in a bowl with a fork
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- On a foil-lined baking sheet, place zucchini boats hollow-side up and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and a smidge of Italian seasoning
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until zucchini is par-cooked
- While the zucchini is cooking: In a medium skillet, drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil and cook garlic, onions, zucchini filling and bell peppers until tender
- Toss in sausage and allow to cook for a few minutes
- Remove from heat and add in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese - stir until well combined
- Once zucchini is done, remove from oven and fill each boat with sausage filling
- Top with extra cheese if desired
- Cook in oven for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until cheese has melted
If you like to spice things up a little bit, I think adding a small amount of diced hot peppers or a dash of cayenne pepper would really be delicious! My husband and I really love spicy foods, so I just might try it that way next time.
Are you a zucchini lover, too? What are some other ways that you like to cook zucchini? I’m always looking for something new to try, so please share the love!