Lately I’ve been into stuffing vegetables. Not sure where the inspiration came from, but it my be rooted in my increasingly climbing age. I know I need to eat more veggies…and I also know that the more interestingly prepared the veggie…the more likely I am to consume said veggie. Unfortunately for me, too often even a nicely cooked carrot, green bean, or piece of broccoli doesn’t get my full attention on the plate, and suffers the risk of being ignored. In this recipe video, is show you vegetable dish that will grab anyone’s attention…Stuffed Zucchini. Stuffed with what you ask? We’ll use some bread, some cheese, some onion & garlic, and just a wee bit of bacon! It’s absolutely delicious, and still a pretty healthy side dish. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Recipe Overview and Keys to Success
For the best Stuffed Zucchini just make sure to focus on these few things:
- You need to cook the zucchini thoroughly prior to stuffing them. This will enable you to hollow them out…and will also ensure they are nice and tender when served
- If possible, use day old bread. Slightly stale, the bread has more texture and body than fresh bread, which is more likely to fall apart on you.
- While I use some bacon, cheese, onion, herbs…you can really add anything to this stuffing. The bread is your base, and you can put in all kinds of meats (sausage, crab, etc), vegetable (mushrooms, cauliflower, potato), and herbs....and of course it make a great vegetarian meal w/o the bacon.
- Whatever you use to stuff into the zucchini, it needs to be cooked first. Raw vegetables or meat won’t cook through after stuffing, so you need to cook them off, then make the stuffing, then stuff the zucchini
Ingredients for Stuffed Zucchini (for 4)
- 2 small (7 – 9 inches long) zucchini
- 1 cup of day old bread, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 slice bacon, cut into lardons
- 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup of diced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and add salt
- Drop the whole zucchini’s into the water and cook at a simmer until tender – about 15 – 20 minutes
- Once tender, remove and put into cold water for 3 – 4 minutes to stop the cooking process and to cool enough to handle
- Once cooled, cut off the very top and bottom of the zucchini and then slice in half the long way
- Using a teaspoon, scrape out the inside of the zucchini leaving about a 1/4 of flesh, to form a zucchini “boat”
- You can discard the seeds, but save any of the meaty flesh to cook along with the stuffing
- To make the stuffing, add the bacon to a sauce pan over medium heat with a touch of olive oil
- Cook until crispy, then add the onions, garlic and any flesh you scraped from the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper
- Saute until the onions are tender, and then add the bread and thyme
- Cook for another 3 – 4 minutes and then remove to a bowl to cool
- One cooled, add the cheese to the stuffing and mix well. Taste and add any salt and pepper that’s needed
- Stuff the zucchini boats with the stuffing, and pop them into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. If needed, you can turn the broiler on at the end to crisp up the top of the stuffing
- Pull the stuffed zucchini out of the oven and serve
This is one of my favorite vegetables to make, and as I said above, the stuffing ingredients are really flexible. It make a great side dish for just about anything, or even a full meal along with a nice green salad.
Wine Recommendation: I’d suggest a nice Chardonnay if you’re having the stuffed zucchini on its own, and just want something nice and light. The oak in the wine will go nicely with the toasted bread on the top of the stuffing and the smoky bacon.