I’ve returned to Connecticut after spending a few weeks out on the road, and when I came back the garden was overflowing. When I went foraging I saw some of the peppers were ready for picking and the cherry tomatoes were coming in like gangbusters. I also came across a massive zucchini, which left me entirely stumped on what to do with a vegetable the size of a toddlers leg.
The perfect ingredients to make a primavera… but where’s the creativity in that?
I had a bad case of cookers block. So I did what anyone with any kind of mental block would do… go on facebook and then google random stuff. That’s where I got my inspiration to make a zucchini boat (aka zucchini pizza). I’m using quinoa and sunflower seeds as the protein and the cool thing about quinoa is that it’s a complete protein, which means that it has all nine amino acids. Sunflower seeds offers the amino acid Lysine and increases protein to any dish. But use sunflower seeds in moderation because although they do contain heart-healthy fats, they are high in calories.
Too much talking, grab a spoon already and start scraping!
So first things first, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and start making your quinoa (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water). Then go grab a spoon and gut the zucchinis. Don’t go too deep when scraping because you want to keep the shape of the zucchini while it bakes and not get mushy. Set aside the insides to be used in the filler. You can coat the inside of the zucchini boats with oil or vegan shortening. I used sunflower spray oil sparingly.
Place gutted zucchinis on a pan with foil.
Chop up your vegetables. This recipe can be varied any way you want it to be, but I’ll list what I used:
- 1 cup oregano and basil mixture chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 hot peppers diced
- pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup kale chopped
- 1/3 cup mango minced (set a tablespoon or so aside)
From top left and going clockwise: Kale, cherry tomatoes, zucchini innards, basil/oregano mix (mostly basil), hot peppers.
In a skillet spray a little oil or use 2 tablespoons of sauce as oil replacer (like tomato sauce or peanut butter, depends on what kind of flavor you’re aiming for). I used vegan pesto as my oil replacer.
On medium to low heat, add your minced garlic first, cook for a minute or two. Then add your peppers and cook them for another minute. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs. Stir in for another minute then add quinoa, sunflower seeds, mango and kale and stir together for another minute or two. Then salt and pepper to taste.
What fun colors and textures
I didn’t use the entire pot of quinoa. I actually used less than half of it. I used as much as I cared to use, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way on this. I used about 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds. Once the filling has reached my desired texture (I didn’t want to overcook the kale), I spooned it into the zucchini boats and topped it with mango bits so it looked like cheese.
Fill ‘er up!
Close up before it heads to the oven
Place the pan into the oven and cook the zucchini boats for about 15-20 minutes. I would personally keep them in for closer to 20 minutes but not much more than that. Don’t want the boats to capsize and break.
When done cut in half and serve
Have fun when you make your version of a zucchini boat! This is a dish I could see in the Engine 2 Diet