vegetarian variations: garden-stuffed zucchini

Should be doing dishes, taking a walk, lulu homework or just about anything but New Music Monday calls me to my kitchen island to write a little post *.   Sara and I took a road trip today to Ikea for some dorm room shopping.  Never been to an Ikea mainly because the closest one to our house is 128 miles away.  We rolled into the West Chester store outside Cincinnati over a big hill all the better to take in the sheer mass of the structure.  Good thing we had on our running shoes.  Successful trip.  Sara's favorite purchase:  a very useful and modern grey magnetic board.  Item she'd probably rather use for something other than it's intended purpose:  pop-up laundry basket which has quite a bounce to it when you compact it.  Anyway, we were discussing my plan of putting a desk in the kitchen where the backpack bench now resides.  The kitchen island could live computer-free.  Would be nice.  Found a great office chair and she told me that my current posting schedule really doesn't necessitate a new work station.  Point taken.  So, Sara, my zucchini-loving child here's the first post for this week.  Your birthday week.  Just guessing a few vegetables will be in order to celebrate your 19 years of greatness!

my plate

Garden-stuffed Zucchini

4 large zucchini
2 summer squash, diced
1 onion, diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms, halved if large
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C loosely packed fresh chopped basil (or 2 tsp dried)
2 T chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1 15-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 C quinoa

feta cheese, optional

Wash and pat dry the zucchini.  Slice off a good ellipse off the top, keeping the ends intact.  Use a sharp knife to cut about 1/4 inch in from the sides and almost an inch from the ends to assist in carving out the flesh.  Leave at least 1/4 inch in the bottom and use a spoon to carefully hollow out the zucchini.  It's not super easy, but it's going to get all squishy so don't sweat it.  Spray a shallow baking dish with non-stick spray and spread about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom.  (Next time I might try these without the sauce or maybe even on the grill to see if the zucchini can brown instead of just get squishy, a texture issue not a taste issue however so you choose).  Place the zucchinis in the pan.  Take the squash you removed during this process and dice it up for the filling.

Heat about 2 T of olive oil in a non-stick skillet.  Saute the onion over medium heat until translucent.  Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add the zucchini centers, summer squash, mushrooms and a teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring until softened and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

While the vegetables are cooking down, over high bring 2/3 cup of water in a small saucepan to a boil and add quinoa.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

To the zucchini pan add the fire-roasted tomatoes, basil and oregano and cook until heated through.  Stir in the cooked quinoa.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into zucchini's piling high (my filling overflowed and I placed the extra in the sauce along side the zucchinis-if you aren't using sauce in the bottom or you are grilling keep the extra filling warm and serve or save as needed).  Top with feta cheese (mozzarella would also be good), cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Here's another chance to brown up the zucchini, leave it uncovered.

ingredients:  note I did not use the red pepper

carved-out zucchini

onion, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms and garlic cooking down

fire-roasted tomatoes, basil and oregano stirring in to the mix

zucchini in prepared dish with sauce on the bottom

quinoa finishes the filling

stuffed and ready for foil and the oven

fresh from the oven

on Sara's plate

*please note this took me a few extra nights to post  *too sunny and too busy to watch Wimbledon during the day so I'm staying up too late watching it on my DVR  *I love Wimbledon!


  1. I can't wait for our zucchini to start growing in our garden so I can make dishes like this one.

    It is vegetarian week at our online Get Grillin’ event and we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don’t have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a ManPans giveaway.


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