As a kid, my mom never had to work very hard to get me to eat my vegetables. Actually, she kind of forced me to be a vegetarian [it’s okay Mom… I forgive you].
I mean… I get it. My dad has been a vegetarian for forty years, and my brothers are strict carnivores. Being the only girl in a sea of brothers, it wasn’t infrequent that there wasn’t enough of the meat version for me. It was an ‘eat quickly or don’t eat’ world… and I wasn’t fast enough. So I was content to eat off the vegetarian menu… which I’m pretty sure scored me points with the ‘rents anyway.
Orange place mats. Rotisserie chicken [brothers] Kasha and bowties [everyone]. Stuffed zucchini [vegetarian crew].
Get in my belly.
I love anything stuffed [but not stuffing – big difference]. Peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and avocados… it’s like the vegetable version of a bread bowl. Someone should come up with edible utensils while we’re at it.
I think what really elevates this dish to the next level is the dill. The unsung hero of herbs, dill has a unique flavor that goes beautifully with mushrooms and zucchini. Use ground meat, soy meat, or tempeh for an added protein punch. If you’re looking to make this more of a main dish, try adding 1 c. cooked brown rice or quinoa into the veggie mixture before you fill your boats. Just invite me… okay?
Makes 4 boats
2 large zucchini, cut in half from stem to tip
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
½ package Tempeh [ground meat, soy meat, or nothing at all!]
½ bell pepper
½ c. mushrooms, chopped
1 t fresh dill
1 c. cooked quinoa or brown rice [optional]
Quinoa flakes or breadcrumbs for topping [optional]
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the middle, while leaving the outside in tact. Reserve the zucchini meat.
Heat some oil in a medium skillet and sauté your protein of choice until slightly browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat a little more oil, and add the onion. Sauté until soft, and add the garlic, cooking for 30 seconds or so.
Chop the zucchini flesh and add to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and pepper. Continue to cook until the zucchini starts to sweat and most the water evaporates from pan [another 4-5 minutes]. Add back in the protein, fresh dill, salt and pepper. [Add rice and quinoa here if using]. Allow everything to heat through and then remove the pan from the heat.
Scoop the filling into the zucchini boats. Don’t be afraid to pack it in there. Top with breadcrumbs or quinoa flakes if using.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the zucchini boats are soft.