Italian Tomato-Basil Stuffed Zucchini is a light, low-carb, gluten-free summer dinner. Easy and so satisfying!
Happy Monday everyone, welcome to a new week!
We had such a wonderful weekend. Hosted a bunch of friends on Friday night, relaxed all day Saturday, then spent Sunday at the one, the only, Iowa State Fair. It’s included in the 1,000 Places To See Before You Die book, don’t ya’ know?!
I’ve already been a couple times this year for Iowa Food and Family Project cook book signings, but Sunday was the perfect day to go as a family. Normally it’s 1,000 degrees with the sun beating down around fair time but yesterday it was overcast and cool. Truly the nicest state fair weather I can remember in the 25+ years I’ve been going.
The state fair doesn’t change much from year to year but it was fun seeing it through the eyes of a child again. Ben and I loved showing Lincoln all the animals we read about in real life like cows, pigs, and horses. He smiled and laughed at all of ’em. Too cute!
The Iowa State Fair is known for all its food on a stick (as well as some non-edibles – bahaha, poncho on a stick, I can’t even…) but since I couldn’t have any I settled on a glass of wine while we strolled. I felt like a pretty big jerk ordering wine at a state fair, but it sure made the visit a little more fun!
We walked until L-man conked, then headed home. Baby’s first state fair visit is officially in the books!
After naptime the three of us headed to a new restaurant in town, Eatery A, for happy hour on the patio. Because the family that happy hours together, stays together?! Honestly, we rarely do anything more exciting than walk to the local park on Sunday evenings but gosh, summer’s not getting any longer. Got to take advantage of perfect patio weather we still can!
Now, as I mentioned we had a few friends over on Friday night and they all so happened to have young babies in tow. This has seriously been the summer of babies. I know at least six couple who have just had or are expecting their bundles of joy in the next few weeks and seeing the wee ones on Friday really brought me back to where Ben and I were last summer at this time – at home with a one week old, totally thrown for a loop, and totally relying on friends and family for, well, everything!
Child rearing definitely takes a village and we were really lucky to have some awesome meals delivered to our doorstep those first couple of weeks including Italian Tomato-Basil Stuffed Zucchini from my Mom. They were so welcomed and delicious, I can’t believe it’s taken me a year to share the recipe with you!
Garden-fresh zucchini is hallowed out then stuffed with spicy Italian sausage mixed with fresh tomato and basil, then piled high with shredded mozzarella cheese and broiled until melted. So simple, so delicious.
August is the season for zucchini and chances are they’re either growing faster than you can pick ’em in your garden or selling for dirt cheap at your local Farmer’s Market or grocery store. Either way, this light and fresh recipe is the perfect way to enjoy them. It’s lower in carbs than pasta, for instance, but packs in all the flavor so you can enjoy ’em guilt free. Make for some new parents in need, or for dinner tonight!
Start with 2 fresh zucchini that are not only the same size as each other (mine were both about 10oz each,) but also the same girth (?) from top to bottom. You know how some zucchini are wider at the bottom and narrower towards the top? You want zucchini that are the same size from top to bottom. Cool? Cool.
Oh my gosh, speaking of “cool”, did you hear Lifetime is coming out with a fake Saved By the Bell documentary delving into the lives of the characters offscreen and how they all hated each other? GAHHHH. Life = made!
Anyway, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise then use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds and create a well in the center.
Mist or brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the zucchini cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet with a nonstick sprayed cooling rack on top then bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Now, if your zucchini are bigger or smaller than mine were – again, about 10oz – add or subtract a couple minutes of baking time so your zucchini don’t end up to crisp or soggy.
By the way, I like to bake my zucchini boats using this method because all zucchini have different water content. If you bake the boats in a baking dish and have a super watery zucchini then they all bake in the liquid and get soggy. Not “cool”.
Meanwhile, brown 1/2lb bulk Italian sausage, breaking it up as it cooks.
Next add 2 chopped Roma tomatoes and 1/2 cup lightly packed basil that’s been chopped. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
Herb hill is still going strong, by the way. Can’t believe how tall my basil plants have gotten since I planted them, and that parsley bush is out of control! Something I really liked about Riverside Gardens is that they used parsley as decorative edging and I totally understand why. It’s so pretty and 100% maintenance free. Got to love that.
Scoop the mixture into the par-baked zucchini boats then pop ’em back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Finally, top with 4oz shredded mozzarella cheese then broil until golden brown.
Italian Tomato-Basil Stuffed Zucchini
Italian Tomato-Basil Stuffed Zucchini is a light, low-carb summer dinner. Easy and so satisfying!
- 2 medium-sized zucchini (about 10oz each)
- extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
- 1/2lb bulk Italian sausage
- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
- 4oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil then place a cooling rack on top and spray with nonstick spray.
- Slice zucchini in half lengthwise then use a small spoon to scoop out seeds/make a well down the center. Mist or brush zucchini halves on both sides with extra virgin olive oil then season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on the cooling rack then bake for 15 minutes (if your zucchini are bigger or smaller than 10oz, add or subtract a couple minutes so you don’t end up with under-cooked or soggy zucchini boats.)
- Meanwhile, brown sausage then add tomato and basil and toss until warmed through, about a minute. Flip zucchini cut-side up then fill with sausage mixture and bake for another 10 minutes, and then remove from oven and turn on broiler. Top zucchini boats with mozzarella cheese then broil until melted and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Light, luscious, and filling. Enjoy this yummy, summery dish!