Looking for ways to try to eat healthier and something a bit different from our ordinary meals, I came across some recipes for stuffed zucchini boats. I remembered that I had these before at a local Tex-Mex place called Matt’s Rancho Martinez and that they were pretty good so I decided to tackle them myself. After looking over a few recipes, I took a bit from one, some from another, mixed them together and came out with something I hoped would be good.
- 4 zucchini cut in half lengthwise (yeah, I used 3, but we had plenty of filling for a 4th, maybe even a 5th)
- 1 lb of ground meat (we used turkey to make it healthier, but beef would work fine)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (basil, garlic and oregano flavored), drained
- 1/4 cup Asiago cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp Tex-Mex Spice
- salt and pepper to taste
- chili, cayenne, ancho or chipotle powder can be added for more heat
- Preheat Egg (or grill to 375) and set up for an indirect cook. If using an oven, preheat to 350.
- Slice the zucchini in half and using a small spoon, scrape out the insides. Don’t scrape out all the way to the skin. Leave a good 1/8 to 1/4th of an inch. Save the pulp and chop it.
- Heat a few tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onions and chopped zucchini and saute until soft. Add the garlic and meat and cook until browned. Next add the drained tomatoes and spices and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once cool, mix in the cheeses and adjust spices to taste.
- Fill the hollowed out zucchini with the meat mixture and top with more mozzarella cheese if desired.
- Place the stuffed zucchini in a casserole dish sprayed with PAM and place on grill or in oven.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until baked through and tender
We served the stuffed zucchini boats up with some couscous and a salad to round out our healthy meal. I mean….I guess it was healthy. Probably would have been healthier without all the cheese, but then again dairy is important in a well rounded diet.
I think this turned out really good. Nice flavors with the zucchini, tomatoes and ground meat. In a dish like this, you really can’t even tell if you decide to use turkey over beef. The Tex-Mex Spice worked well, although I would have liked a bit more heat. Another thing I might do differently next time is to nuke the zucchini halves for a minute or two before stuffing them. That or just allow them to cook longer. They just didn’t seem cooked enough after 30 minutes.
I can see all kinds of possibilities with this dish, tons of varieties. Add marinara sauce and serve with some pasta for an Italian dinner. Maybe some olives, eggplant, mint and/or goat cheese for a Mediterranean version. You could make a Mexican version or leave out the meat and make a vegetarian version. The possibilities are endless and only up to your imagination.