Cook

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

Time for another stuffed veggie recipe! This time with an Italian theme – Italian Stuffed Zucchini. This is a pretty natural pairing if you ask me. So many Italian dishes already include zucchini, why not use it as the base for a yummy meat and tomato filling? With Italian themed spices, of course!

This recipe is pretty simple, and comes together quickly. To cut back on the final baking time, pre-bake the zucchini halves while you are making up the filling. Dinner gets on the table that much faster! (See notes in recipe.)

prepped zucchini

pre-baked zucchini

One of my favorite things about this stuffed zucchini recipe is that you can easily prep all components at once. Once they are prepared, simply combine for the final bake.

diced veggies

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I try to do too many tasks in the kitchen at once it doesn’t always go well… Inevitably something ends up burned, or boiling over, or even left out of the recipe! I generally do much better getting everything prepped ahead of time, and then doing the cooking. It makes for less stress too 🙂 But for this recipe, you can cook the sausage and sauce at the same time, and even pre-cook the zucchini too!

meat mixture

This recipe can also work for a medifast lean and green!

Just make these couple simple changes:

  • Leave out the tomato paste
  • Reduce the onion to 2 tablespoons
  • Use a low fat cheese, at 1oz/serving

Your lean and green breakdown would be as follows:

  • One green = half zucchini
  • Two greens = tomato sauce with arugula
  • One lean = 4oz turkey sausage and 1oz low fat cheese

Voila! Lean and green!

stuffed zucchini ready to bake

If you like these types of recipes, i.e. a veggie used as a container for a hearty meat-and-other-veggie filling, then check out my stuffed Acorn Squash and Eggplant recipes for some more ideas. Veggies-on-veggies! 🙂

plated stuffed zucchini

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Category: Entree

Cuisine: Italian

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 1 zucchini half

Calories per serving: 340

Fat per serving: 17

Carbs per serving: 15

Protein per serving: 29

Fiber per serving: 4

Sugar per serving: 10

stuffed zucchini, close up

Italian flavors fill garden-fresh zucchini for a delightful weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • Diced tomatoes, 1 14.5oz can, drained and juices reserved
  • Tomato paste, 2 tablespoons
  • EVOO, 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow onion, 1/2 diced
  • Garlic clove, minced
  • Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon
  • Arugula, 1 1/2 cup chopped (optional)
  • Carrots, 1/2 cup diced (optional)
  • Celery, 1/4 cup diced (optional)
  • Egg whites, 4 tablespoons -or- 1 beaten egg
  • Sweet Italian turkey sausage links, 2 @ 4oz each (I used Jennie-O)
  • Zucchini, 1 large or 2 medium
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesean Reggiano, 1oz grated
  • Chopped parsley, 1/4 cup (optional, to garnish)

Instructions

    Preheat Oven to 375°F
    Prep the Zucchini
  1. Cut the zucchini(s) in half, and scoop out the seedy flesh inside. You should still have about 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh (without seeds) left.
  2. Set aside.
  3. For a faster final cook time, see notes.
    The Filling
  1. Brown the sausage, mixing well so it breaks into small pieces.
  2. If you'd like a little spice, add crushed red pepper to the sausage while it is cooking.
  3. While the sausage is browning...
  4. In a small sauce pan, saute the diced onion with a pinch of salt until it starts to turn transparent (not cooked all the way through). If using diced carrots and celery, add them in to saute with the onion as well.
  5. Add the garlic, and stir about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
  7. Stir often, adding in reserved juice from the diced tomatoes to keep the mixture a thick, saucy texture.
  8. While cooking the tomato sauce, season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until it tastes good 🙂
  9. Cook until the tomatoes are softened, and you can smash them slightly. You also want a "cooked" tomato flavor to come through.
  10. Stir in the arugula, and cook just until wilted.
  11. Add in the egg white (or egg), along with the browned sausage.
  12. Stir in quickly so as to get the egg mixed in well. (You are just using the egg for a little extra binding/thickening, so you don't want it to cook and scramble, as would happen if you were to pour it into the pan and let it cook before mixing into the sauce.)
    Fill and Bake
  1. Scoop the tomato/meat filling into the zucchini halves.
  2. Place into a baking dish with a small amount of water at the bottom.
  3. Cover with foil, and bake at 375°F until the zucchini is tender when poked with a fork. (For the large zucchini I used, this took about 50 minutes.)
  4. Uncover, top with Parmesan, and continue baking until cheese is melted and browned (about 5 minutes).
  5. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
  6. Let cool slightly, and serve!

Notes

For a faster final cook time:

1) Prep the zucchini about an hour ahead, sprinkle with salt, and let drain in a colander in the sink. After about an hour, rinse well and pat dry. (This salting step is optional, but helps get some moisture from the zucchini so that it will cook up faster.)

2) After rinsing, pre-bake the zucchini in the oven while you are cooking the sauce. Once the sauce is ready, pull the zucchini from the oven, fill, and return stuffed zucchini to the oven to finish baking as instructed.

https://www.cookcraftcultivate.com/cook/italian-stuffed-zucchini/

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.