How to Cook Extra Large Zucchini: Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe
Are Large Zucchini Still Good?
I was stopping by my local Rachel's Garden recently and came across this giant zucchini. Rachel is a young girl (probably ten years old?) who sets up a local stand every summer to sell her wares: tomatoes, squash, and zucchini, mostly, with some flower bouquets thrown in. I find stopping at this local corner a pleasant experience, as it often keeps me from having to fight the crowds at the Farmer's Market and allows my dog and I (yes, he goes with me) to spend some time in the company of a charming young entrepreneur. Sometimes her dad hangs out with her, too.
Often times, especially when Gizmo and I arrive late in the morning, Rachel isn't there. But her table is, as are the boxes of different types of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness, along with various squash and zucchini. The neat thing about this vegetable stand is that it is self-service when Rachel can't be out there. You put your selections on the scale to weigh them (price per pound is posted), put your money in the can, and you're set! It's the good ole boy honor system.
This summer, on one of my visits there, I was struck by the size of a huge zucchini. I asked Rachel's father, who is often out there helping Rachel, if such a large zucchini tasted good. Could it be tender at all? He told me that i could make a wonderful recipe by scooping out the insides of the zucchini and making a filling and then baking it in the oven until tender. Hmmmm . . . . I had to try it.
So, I took home this extremely large zucchini (that kind of freaked out my pets) and did what Rachel and her father said I should do. I tried the results and said, "Yummy." I took half of a half (yes, this thing was huge!) over to my boyfriend's house, and he said, "Wow!" He loves zucchini and loved this recipe. I have made this recipe again since that first time.
Ingredients for Baked Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
- 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 Tbs. butter, melted
- grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkled
- 1 egg, optional
- 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs, optional
Big Zucchini Cut OpenClick thumbnail to view full-size
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- Rinse zucchini. Cut in half (short way). Then cut the halves in half into long "boats." Scoop out seeds and soft flesh to form a zucchini "boat."
- Melt butter and spread onto top and bottom of zucchinis.
- In the meantime, put ground beef into pan and cook with chopped onions. Cook until beef is browned. Drain and return to pan.
- Add drained can of diced tomatoes and chilies, along with cheese.Mix well.
- Add egg and bread crumbs if you want added texture to mixture.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes before checking. Check zucchini for tenderness. Cook up to 15 minutes longer if necessary.
Optional Fillings for Zucchini Boats
The second time I made zucchini boats, I left out the egg and bread crumbs and was just as satisfied. I also added a can of corn, and it was great. Also good in the mix is chopped bell peppers.
Instead of diced tomatoes and green chilies, you might prefer a can of tomato sauce or simply chopped fresh tomatoes. Try green onions instead of yellow or white. Be creative.
Make a vegetarian filing with your choice of vegetables and cheese!
You may want to chop up your serving and mix it all together. That's what we did to make the boats easier to eat.
Don't worry about messing these up! As long as the zucchini gets tender, and you like the ingredients you put in the filling, the boats will turn out great.
Baked Zucchini Boats (will vary with size of zucchini; has 134 mg sodium)
|Serving size: 1/16 slice of huge zucchini|
|Calories from Fat||81|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 9 g||14%|
|Saturated fat 4 g||20%|
|Unsaturated fat 4 g|
|Carbohydrates 4 g||1%|
|Sugar 1 g|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 6 g||12%|
|Cholesterol 28 mg||9%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|