Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Dinner: Stuffed Zucchini

Tonight's dinner was inspired by a recipe posted by kay on LJ: stuffed zucchini!

When I saw it on food_porn, it appealed to me immediately because I loved stuffed things. It's nearly inevitable. Stuff something, and it will seem 10x more appetizing to me. I guess I'm just a freak that way. I knew it would also appeal to Trix, because she loves squash.

The basic idea is very simple: halve a zucchini, scoop out its middle, then fill it with your choice of ingredients. The great thing about this dish is how improvisational it can (and really should) be, enabling you to use up the last bits and pieces of whatever you've got in your fridge. It's also very open to an interpretation of flavors; kay on LJ uses curry powder in hers, I didn't (after my week+ of eating Indian food, I wanted something different).

I almost don't want to provide a recipe, because making it exactly as I did if you don't already have the ingredients on hand might prove time consuming and thus not worth the effort. I will just so you have a guideline to follow. However, the ultimate ingredients should be based on what you have and like. The beauty of this dish is how elegant -- and yet quick -- it can be.

Originally I was going to make two stuffed zucchini (four stuffed halves), but a late lunch at Red Robin (in which I ate my entire burger AND extra fries -- never, ever eat late, you always overeat) nixed that plan. I ended up making two stuffed halves, with the rest of the filling saved for another time.

Stuffed Zucchini

  • 2 zucchini, halved (you can choose to trim the ends or not)
  • 2 slices of cooked bacon, crispy
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk mashed potatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  • dash of parsley flakes


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan. When it's hot, add the onions. Cook until they're wilted and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for a couple minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Slice the zucchini in half as evenly as you can. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides, being careful not to go too deep -- you want the remainder to be whole, so they can be used as 'boats.'
  5. Take a bit or all of what you've scooped out and chop it. Toss it into the bowl with the onion mixture.
  6. To the bowl add the diced tomato, feta cheese, mashed potatoes (cold or warmed -- I just used cold), and bacon by crumbling it in. Mix well. Add salt to taste, a pinch or two should do it since the bacon is already salty.
  7. Arrange the zucchini 'boats' in a baking dish. Stuff them with the filling -- be generous, as it'll not only taste and look better, but you should have plenty to go around.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes so that it's nicely browned and slightly crispy on top. (Alternatively you could bake for 20 minutes then broil them for a few minutes.)
  9. Garnish with some parsley flakes on top and serve immediately.

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