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Garlic Stuffed Baked Zucchini

BY JOE SIRAGUSA

A delicious way to use up extra zucchini from the garden! Zucchini split, stuffed and baked with flavorful ingredients make a great side dish, but can also stand as a meal on their own.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a tablespoon, scoop out the soft center flesh to make "boats" of the four pieces. Finely chop the scooped-out zucchini and reserve.
  3. Brush the cut part of the zucchini boats with olive oil and season with kosher salt and ground pepper. Place them cut size down on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. While zucchini is roasting in the oven, saute the red pepper, mushrooms, onion, reserved chopped zucchini, garlic in olive oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper while sauting over medium heat. Saute about 8-10 minutes, until veggies are tender and mushrooms are browned.
  5. Add 1 cup of marinara sauce, basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese to the pan and stir to mix. At this point you can add the cooked, crumbled sausage if you prefer.
  6. Fill zucchini boats with mixture, top with a light coating of breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and top warm marinara sauce or serve on the side.

INGREDIENTS

2 medium zucchini

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup

Red bell pepper, diced

Parmesan cheese, half cup grated

1/2 cup cremini (brown) mushrooms, finely chopped

Onion, 1/4 cup finely chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

5 basil leaves, torn or chopped

Jar of marinara sauce

2/3 cup Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper