Meatless Monday is a great time to tame zucchini overload and enjoy this versatile stuffed zucchini recipe.
Does your backyard garden abound with zucchini? Or were you a little too tempted with all the variety at the Farmer’s Market and came home with enough zucchini to feed a small country?
Me too. Actually, I can answer yes to both of those things! I almost always plant two or three (or more) types of zucchini, but still find myself purchasing cute little scallops or yellow bulls-eye varieties at the weekend market. So, August meals involve lots of zucchini. LOTS.
This year I planted a short row of Ronde de Nice zucchini. It is a little round variety that lends itself to being stuffed. If I catch them early enough, each person gets their own stuffed zucchini. But often they have grown to “two-person” size before I find them hiding under the leaves.
How to Prepare Round Zucchini for Stuffing
- Wash zucchini
- Slice off the top of the round zucchini
- Place in microwave. Cook on high for 2-4 minutes to partially cook.
- Let cool. Cut around the zucchini filling and remove the seeds.
- Place hollowed out zucchini in a greased baking dish.
- Fill with stuffing and bake at 375 degrees until warmed through and fully cooked – usually about 30 minutes.
How long you will cook your zucchini in the microwave depends on:
- How large the zucchini is – larger zucchini will need to cook longer than smaller zucchini.
- How powerful your microwave oven is – what used to take me 2 minutes in an 1100-watt oven now takes almost 4 minutes in my new 900-watt oven.
- Whether you are preparing a hot stuffed zucchini or a cold stuffed zucchini.
A hot stuffed zucchini only needs to cooked for a few minutes, just enough to scoop out the center. This is because the stuffed zucchini will finish cooking in the oven.
A cold stuffed zucchini actually needs to be cooked longer in the microwave; long enough to be tender to the bite but still holds its shape. This lets us enjoy eating the zucchini itself once the cold salad stuffing has been eaten.
Make Your Own Stuffing
Zucchini can be stuffed with almost any tasty combination. Try to include at least one item from each group below in your own stuffing mix:
Bulk: tofu, scrambled eggs, cooked rice, quinoa, barley, or wheat berries.
Binder: egg, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, almond meal, panko crumbs.
Veggies: chopped zucchini flesh that was removed from center (minus the seeds), chopped bell peppers or cherry tomatoes, chopped spinach or other greens.
Flavor Boosters: cheese, olives, preserved lemons, capers, herbs or spices.
Some of my favorite stuffing combinations are:
- Mashed tofu, chopped zucchini flesh, chili powder, chopped bell peppers, cilantro, Mexican cheese blend – served with salsa.
- Cooked quinoa, chopped zucchini flesh, fresh or dried basil, preserved lemon, Parmesan cheese, capers, chopped tomatoes.
- A cold cooked zucchini stuffed with potato salad – as in the above photo.
Tips, Hints, and Experimentation
You notice that there are no amounts listed above. That is because each zucchini holds a different amount of stuffing! Don’t worry if you make too much, it can be frozen for future use. I have used my excess stuffing mix later in the year for taco filling, to stuff large pasta shells, in casseroles, etc.
Stuffed zucchini is a great way to use up those odds and ends in the refrigerator. Have a little leftover rice? It becomes part of the stuffing. Want to get rid of that huge pickle jar with just one pickle left? Chop it up (the pickle, not the jar) and add it to the stuffing. Swiss chard wilting? Slice it into ribbons and add to stuffing.
Stuffed zucchini always tastes great, and if it is lacking something this time, top it with salsa or marinara sauce.
Serving potato salad, egg salad, tuna/chicken salad in a cooked zucchini round makes an easy but elegant meal for entertaining.
A cooked zucchini works just like an ice cream cone – the whole thing is edible, the filling and the container!