Meatless & Delicious: Tuscan Baked Zucchini

Happy Easter!

Well, not for me.  Us Greeks like to do things a little differently, so I will actually be celebrating Easter next weekend instead.  It’s the Orthodox way.  Today I will be celebrating with Tim and his family though!  At least we don’t have to split the day, right?  And like my dad loves to say year after year, at least our Easter candy will be 50% off!

Ha.

But as exciting as Easter talk is, I need to share this recipe with you guys, and I need to share it now.  I stumbled upon it while reading Women’s Health on the plane ride home from Oklahoma this week.  When I got home, I tossed my magazine at Tim and said “find the recipe I want us to make this week.”  He knew what I was talking about the minute he turned to page 104.

Tuscan Baked Zucchini

We did make some substitutions, noted below.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 six-ounce jar of artichokes, drained
  • 1 cup cooked whole-wheat orzo or couscous (we used a blend of whole grain rice, barley, and pearled wheat grains — Near East brand)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs (we used oats instead for a trade up)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (since pine nuts were too expensive at the grocery store, we used walnuts that I happened to have on hand). 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out seeds and flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell and reserving the flesh.  Brush zucchini shells with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. While zucchini is baking, chop the reserved zucchini and artichokes and place in a medium-sized bowl.  Add garlic and combine.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick skillet and cook the zucchini mixture for 3-5 minutes, until zucchini is softened.
  6. Remove from heat and add cooked grain, oats, nuts, Parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce.
  7. Fill each zucchini shell with about 1/3 cup filling and top each with 1 tablespoon mozzarella.
  8. Return filled zucchini to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, until filling is heated through and cheese is melted.

Scooping out the zucchini was kinda fun!

How delicious do these look?

Seriously, these were so good.  It was a nice change of pace because Tim and I rarely eat vegetarian, so this meatless dish left us with a different kind of full afterwards.  I’m not sure how to explain it.  I’m so excited we made four servings so we have leftovers for tonight.  These will be perfect for when we’re hungry later!

What’s your favorite vegetarian dish? 

I’m off to do an early Sunday morning workout before Easter festivities!  Hope everyone that is celebrating today has a great day.

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12 thoughts on “Meatless & Delicious: Tuscan Baked Zucchini

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  2. A, can’t wait to try this new version. I have been making something pretty similar for years with a bit more of a sicilian spin on ’em. Either way, they are great! Keep up the good work! 🙂

    Like

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