Sadly, we cannot live on zucchini bread alone, even though it is amazing.
What else can you do with zucchini? There are actually roughly a million options. You can grill them, put them in salad, make them into tots, or make them into cute little boats. I first made this recipe a few years back, and I LOVED it. I gave it a “Delicious!” rating on my printout of the recipe. Now that I have a garden and an abundant supply of zucchini, and my kids’ tastes have progressed beyond only Party Pizza and macaroni and cheese, I decided to try it out on the whole family.
It was a surprising success!
About the source of the recipe:
Zucchini boats have become quite popular. They follow the same concept as stuffed peppers–filling a hollow, or hollowed out, vegetable with savory ingredients. This particular recipe is from the Skinnytaste.com food blog, which I love. The blog is dedicated to making healthy food that is delicious, and nutrition information is provided with every recipe, including Weight Watchers points. The writer is very good at what she does, and I am sure I will share many of her other recipes in the future.
The sausage stuffed zucchini boats are low in carbs, high in protein, gluten-free, and DELICIOUS. I was surprised at how my kids responded to them. Of course, they were quite skeptical at first. My son looked completely miserable as he sat down to his plate. My youngest took one bite and declared it, “yucky.” By the end of the meal, the two girls had asked for seconds and said they “really, really liked it” and my son said he “really liked the filling.” My youngest totally changed her opinion with the addition of a little salt and pepper to hers.
There were no leftovers! We licked the pan clean. I’d call that a raging success. My kids were also quite receptive when I told them that there are many other varieties of zucchini boats we could try–taco, pizza, enchilada, etc. I hope you try them and love them too.
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
*One downside: If you make your own marinara sauce, this recipe can be a bit time-consuming and dirties quite a few dishes.
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I make mine fresh using this recipe also from Skinnytaste.com, but you could use your favorite jarred sauce or another recipe. I don’t always have fresh basil, so I substitute with dried, and I also add a 1/2 tablespoon of sugar at the end to cut the acidity a little bit.)
- 4 (31 oz. total) medium zucchini (This is variable. I used 3 zucchini this time because some of them were a little bigger. I did weigh them to try to get close to the suggested total weight.)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 small onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 14 oz. lean Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing (Al Fresco is the recommended gluten-free brand, which I found on sale at Wal-mart, but you can also try a turkey sausage if you can’t find chicken. If you don’t care about the fat, I am sure you could use any sausage you like.)
- 1/2 cup part skim shredded mozzarella (Polly-O is the recommended brand, but I just used the regular shredded mozzarella I had on hand.)
- 8 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- I recommend gathering all of your ingredients and chopping all of your vegetables first. Once you have this done, the recipe will come together pretty quickly.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon or melon baller, leaving the zucchini shell about 1/4 inch thick. Chop the zucchini flesh into small pieces and set aside. (I didn’t use quite all of the zucchini flesh because it seemed like a little too much.)
- Choose a baking pan that will fit your zucchini (mine fit in a 9 x 13) and spread about 1/4-1/2 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.
- Place the zucchini halves, working in batches if necessary, into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from water and set aside cut side up in your baking pan.
- In a large skillet, brown and crumble the sausage and then set aside.
- In the same skillet, heat oil and add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage back to the skillet and heat a few more minutes.
- Divide the sausage mixture evenly into the zucchini boats. Top each with a couple tablespoons of marinara sauce, a tablespoon or so of mozzarella cheese, and a teaspoon or so of parmesan.
- Cover pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
*The recipe says each boat (1/2 a zucchini) is a serving. I used 3 larger zucchini, and my family of five polished them off.