Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Although I enjoy eating meat, I would say that I fall on the lower end of the scale when it comes to average meat consumption; my breakfast, snacks, and lunches are almost always vegetarian. I usually have a small portion of deliciously prepared meat at dinnertime, but vegetables or legumes, sometimes accompanied by a small amount of whole grains, definitely constitute the bulk of my nightly meal.

The reason I watch my meat consumption is that I’m picky about the origins of my food, and, since I don’t mind paying slightly more for locally-raised cuts of meat, I’m happy to eat a little less of it to compensate. Therefore, in order to cut down on the amount we buy, I like to try to have one vegetarian supper per week. It’s not a strict rule that I’ve set for our household; it’s just something I try to think about (I also like to think that the fact I usually forget to take meat out of the freezer about once a week is a total coincidence; no, really, I’m just very responsible!). The only two main dishes I find myself making again and again for vegetarian suppers are refried beans, and pasta. As you can see, I needed a little inspiration.

Lucky for me, my vegetarian sister, Kristin, saved the day. She told me about these stuffed zucchini boats that she makes on a regular basis: she cuts them in half, seeds them, and fills them with a mixture of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, tops them with paprika, and bakes them until the filling is nice and golden. They sounded amazing! So much so, that I couldn’t imagine them getting second billing in an omnivorous supper; no, these zucchini boats would have to shine as the main component of a vegetarian meal.

I tried them myself, and made them my own by substituting the mozza with my always-present favourite, asiago, and adding some dried basil and oregano to the mixture.

I baked the boats until the cheese was nice and bubbly, and then turned on the broiler until a golden brown crust formed on the tops.

I'm happy to report that the stuffed zucchini boats were even better than I expected. The zucchini shells were nice and tender, but still firm enough to stand up to the filling. The latter was very creamy, gooey, and flavourful; the combination of the two cheeses was a marriage made in Heaven, and the lemon juice brought in a nice tang. I scarfed them down, not caring that the bubbly cheese was kind of burning my mouth.

Since the stuffed zucchinis were so special, I served them very simply with some buttered brown rice, and onions and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil. It was a wonderful, light spring meal that I intend to recreate on a regular basis. I’m already imagining how the zucchini boats might taste if I add diced onions to the stuffing, and then top them with breadcrumbs tossed with melted butter…but that will be another story!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats: The recipe
2 servings as main dish, 4 servings as side

Amanda’s Notes: As I mentioned before, Kristin uses mozzarella in her zucchini boats. I think any of your favourite Italian cheeses would be fantastic with the ricotta in this dish.

The amounts for the filling depends on the size of the zucchinis, and, of course, how much you want to stuff them (be aware that if they’re overfilled, the cheese will seep out over the sides as it melts). Make lots if you’re not sure; the filling was very tasty on its own, and I think any extra would be great spread on bread.

2 large zucchini
1 to 2 cups ricotta cheese
½ to 1 cup grated asiago cheese
fresh lemon juice (start with a half lemon, taste as you go)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450C

Trim ends off zucchinis, and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds and pulp, leaving ½ inch shell.

Mix remaining ingredients together, and divide evenly into zucchini halves. Top with more freshly ground black pepper.

Place zucchini halves on a roasting pan. Bake until filling is bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Zuchinni Boats on Foodista


  1. I'm famous!

    These are so good...the lemon juice knocks it out of this world

  2. Hee! Thanks so much for the inspiration. They were phenomenal! The perfect way to mourn the end of the long weekend.

  3. Those gorgeous zuchinnis would definitely inspire me. I love this dish!

  4. Hi, Dragon! They were even more delicious than they were gorgeous! I'm still dreaming about them.

  5. Amazing zuchinnis. Cheesy, yummy goodness. There's no need for meat, when you have dishes like this!

  6. wow that looks delicious.. I might give these a try

  7. You should, they're even more delicious than they look! :)

  8. Oh my gosh...looks delicious!!! Can't wait to try!

  9. You should, Lexie. You'll never be the same!

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