Zucchini is now in abundance. If you've been cultivating it in your garden this summer, it just keeps growing and growing. It's filling up the bins at the grocery and tables at the farmer's markets.
A lot of home gardeners struggle with what to do when faced with this delicious dilemma. You can only give away so much zucchini. Also, what do you do with those extra-large varieties?
My advice – get out the sauté pan, warm up the mixer, heat up the oven and start baking, making and creating zucchini dishes for days to come. No zucchini shall be left behind.
Larger zucchinis tend to be dry and woody, but the outsides can still remain tender. One of the best ways I've discovered to tame these green squash beasts is by slathering them in olive oil and baking them in the oven.
The tender outer "zucchini boat" almost melts in your mouth and, when piled high with a hearty filling, it's pretty much perfection on a plate.
While I have my favorite way of cooking stuffed zucchini, they are just as delicious meat-free, with a vegetarian/vegan meat substitute.
Twinkle's Stuffed Zucchini
Makes 4 large portions
2 extra-large zucchini squash – about 12" long, 3" wide
½ lb. ground chuck
½ lb. spicy Italian sausage
3 Portobello mushrooms
1 green onion
5 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large egg
2 tbs. thyme
1 cup cooked Lebanese couscous or brown rice
½ lb. Gruyere cheese, sliced into 1x1" squares or shredded
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice your zucchinis in half lengthwise. Cut around the edges with a knife to loosen the middle pulp.
- Gently spoon out the middle and set it aside.
- Finely dice the onion, mushrooms, garlic and about ½ cup of the moistest portions of the zucchini pulp. The drier, leftover parts can be disposed of or go in the compost if you have one.
- Sauté on medium until the veggies turn clear. Set aside in a large bowl.
- Sauté the ground chuck and sausage until just cooked. Break up and place in bowl with cooked veggies.
- Mix in the egg, 1 tbs. of olive oil and the cooked couscous (or rice) until well-mixed and set your finished stuffing aside.
- Place the zucchini "boats" onto a heavy-duty baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Oil the zucchini generously with the remaining olive oil and then spoon in the stuffing mix.
- Cover each stuffed zucchini with the gruyere slices and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft and the cheese is melted.
- Let cool for five minutes to set, and serve with your choice of side.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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