Make the most of your summer vegetables with these stuffed zucchini boats. The stuffing is made up of tangy tomatoes lightly cooked in olive oil with garlic and thyme, mixed with sourdough bread cubes and Parmesan cheese. The zucchini slices make the perfect vessel to hold the savory stuffing, and everything is baked with a generous topping of shredded cheese, which of course melts deliciously, making a tasty appetizer, snack, or side dish.
This is the time of year when zucchini and tomatoes can be found in abundance, and one of my favorite things to do is stop by farm stands along the road and load up on just-picked vegetables. After making a couple of batches of zucchini bread, I was looking for new ways to use those green gems. Stuffed zucchini boats are one of my favorite ways. I adapted this recipe from a classic cookbook, Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead. I omitted the scallions this time (because I didn’t have any) and I substituted mozzarella cheese for the Gruyere, but mainly stayed very close to her recipe, because her recipes are so solid. She is am amazing cook!
One thing to note: The recipe calls for small zucchini. My advice is to listen to the recipe and stick to small ones. Once I had a large zucchini that I wanted to use up, and I cut it into smaller slices, hoping they would take the place of smaller ones. This did not work! The large zucchini pieces were too thick and too watery. However, with the small zucchini, this recipe works great, and the crisp-tender slices hold the tangy, cheesy stuffing wonderfully.
It is the very last day of August, and is such a poignant time of year, with summer winding down. My kids started school a week-and-a-half ago, and their fall activities are already in full swing. But for this long Labor Day weekend, I am hoping too hold the hand of summer, slow down for a couple of days, and let nature recharge me, and those around me, as well.
August went by in a busy, hazy, lovely blur, with part of it being our family vacation in northern Michigan. We had a really nice time, and that area has always had, and will always have, part of my heart. Beautiful beaches, fragrant forests, and swimming, hiking, kayaking, and sailing all made for meaningful family time and great memories. I even went windsurfing on my brother’s windsurfer (the first time I had done it for many years!)
September will bring lots of challenges, and I hope to be able to meet them with lots of strength and courage. Good food is an important way to fortify oneself for challenges, and these stuffed zucchini boats are full of healthy, energy-boosting nutrients, in addition to good flavor!
I hope you all have a great weekend, and stay cool! It’s supposed to get hot again tomorrow. I will be looking for a lake to jump in. 🙂 In the meantime, for the first time in awhile, I will be visiting Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Antonia @ Zoale and Lathi @ From Lathi’s Kitchen.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 5 to 6 small zucchini, with the ends cut off
- 3 tablespoons of good olive oil
- 1 cup of sourdough bread (wheat bread can also be used), with crusts removed and diced to 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 and 1/2 cups of tomatoes, diced to 1/2 inch (about 2 tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper
- 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded Gruyere cheese (shredded mozzarella cheese tastes great as a substitute)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the zucchini and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the zucchini are just tender. Remove them from the water and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. When the zucchini are cool enough to handle, cut them length-wise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place them cut-side down on the paper-towel-lined plate.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add the bread cubes and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until golden, tossing them often. Remove the bread cubes to a bowl. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the tomatoes, garlic, and thyme. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato mixture to the bowl with the bread cubes. Then add the shredded Parmesan cheese and 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir gently.
Place the zucchini slices snugly together on a rimmed 10 x 14 inch baking dish, with the cut sides facing up. With a small spoon, place the tomato and bread mixture into the cavities where the seeds were, distributing evenly. Sprinkle the tops with the shredded Gruyere or mozzarella cheese. Bake in your 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. These taste when served hot. Enjoy!
To make ahead: Assemble everything as directed, cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Remove the covering and bake just before serving.
This recipe is adapted from Make It Ahead by Ina Garten.