Zucchini has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance lately thanks to the growing popularity of zoodles (zucchini noodles) made from spiraling zucchini into pasta-like noodles. I love preparing zucchini that way, but I also love making it into boats that can hold delicious toppings and baking them in the oven for a warmer take on this versatile veggie (well, technically, it’s a fruit).
It’s so easy to scoop out the insides to make a nice place to hold your favourite ingredients. The sky’s the limit when it comes to options for stuffing, but let’s just focus on one for now, shall we? Here, I’ve stuffed these zucchini boats with a really hearty combination of baked tempeh and sautéed mushrooms with garlic, onion, savoury herbs and, yes, a bit of cheese. I don’t eat dairy in general, but when I do, I look for options that are easier to digest like goat or sheep. The proteins and fats in dairy from these kinds of animals are closer in molecular structure to those in human milk, which is one of the reasons many people who are sensitive to cow’s products can handle these types of cheeses. It works for me and allows me to enjoy this delicious food from time to time. But you could, 100%, omit the dairy from this recipe and it would still be delicious!
I love baking tempeh and using it, crispy and crumbled, as an ingredient in a main dish. When I have the time, I actually steam the tempeh for about 10 minutes to soften it and then marinate in oil and tamari before baking. Here’s how:
– remove tempeh from package,
– cut into strips,
– steam for 10 minutes in steaming basket,
– toss softened strips in a bowl with a bit of oil and any other herbs/spices you like
– bake in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes until crispy and brown
– then crumble!
You can use it as a salad/pasta topping, cook into casseroles or, like I’ve done here – stuff into zucchini!
In addition to the other ingredients like mushrooms, egg and cheese, this stuffing becomes a fantastic protein-rich vegetarian version of a meat-lovers dish. I swear your meat-eating friends will LOVE this recipe. I even bet, that if you didn’t tell them it was meat-free, they wouldn’t guess.
Difficulty Level: Medium
- 2 medium zucchini
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ c finely chopped onion
- ¼ c finely chopped celery
- 1 c finely chopped mushrooms
- 1 c crumbled (pre-baked) tempeh
- 6 tbsp grated goat cheese (I used Havarti)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp chopped, fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 375. Slice zucchini in half, lengthwise and scoop out the insides where the seeds are making enough room to fill with topping. (Careful not to go too deep and rip the skins). Chop insides into small chunks. Reserve the halves and the insides.
- Heat coconut oil in a pan on medium heat and sauté onions for 1-2 minutes until slightly transparent.
- Add mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Add celery and garlic and 1 cup of chopped zucchini flesh and cook down for 2-3 more minutes.
- Stir in basil and rosemary and cook 1 minute more.
- Remove from heat and transfer to
bowl. Add tempeh crumbles and butter and allow to rest until room temperature.
- Once the mixture has cooled, add beaten egg, shredded cheese, salt and pepper.
- Fill cored zucchini with mixture.
- Fill glass casserole dish with ⅛ inch of water and place zucchini boats in
- Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
Ingredient Spotlight: Zucchini
Technically a fruit, this summer squash is made up of a lot of water, so it’s naturally low in calories and carbohydrates, making it ideal for weight-loss. But, just because it’s low in calories doesn’t mean it’s not high in nutrients. In fact, zucchini boasts a great serving of vitamin A, which is great for your respiratory and eye health. It’s got folate to nourish your blood cells and is also full of the heart-healthy electrolyte potassium to support cardiovascular and nervous system health. The skins contain most of the fibre, so make sure to leave those on. Zucchini will last about 5-7 days in the fridge after purchase and it’s best to save the washing until just before you’re ready to prepare them.
This main dish is great on its own or with a tasty side salad.
Do you have a favourite zucchini recipe? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section. I’d also love it if you tried out this recipe and let me know how it goes. You can connect with me @kimdeoncom and tag your healthy creations #EatSomeGood so I know where to find them. Keep up the good food love!