Monthly Veg-ucation: Baked Organic Zucchini Boats Two Ways - The Rising Spoon

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Monthly Veg-ucation: Baked Organic Zucchini Boats Two Ways

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Baked Organic Zucchini Boats | therisingspoon.com

Ready for your first summertime veggie post? Last month I discussed cauliflower and the month before was asparagus. This month the ladies in our real food vegetable circle are focusing on summer squash. 

I could have chosen several different summer squashes, but opted to try a new zucchini recipe after picking up a few pounds of the organic produce at my local farmer's market a few weeks back. 

After secretly grating it into my boyfriend's scrambled eggs for a few weeks (shhh...he doesn't like squash and still has no idea) and sauteing it in pasta dishes, I couldn't wait to try this cheesy baked and stuffed dish. 

Over the past year or so, zucchini boats with pepperoni pizza toppings have been super popular all over Pinterest; however, I wanted a filling with a bit more substance. 

I initially had bread-free bruschetta flavors in mind, but took a gander in my fridge and devised a second zucchini boat with leftover ingredients like roasted chicken and organic spinach leaves. 

I even went so far as to plan a taco flavored zucchini boat with ground beef seasoned with my homemade spicy taco seasoning, but I ended up not having enough zucchini to try it out. Next time!

Zucchini has a neutral taste so it's perfect in an assortment of dishes or paired with a range of flavors. In essence, organic zucchini boats act as a healthy, low-carb base that you can fill with whatever foods you like, which is perfect if you're looking to use up leftover cooked meats, veggies or cheeses hanging around your fridge. 

Another bonus? Organic summer squashes like zucchini have a decent amount of vitamin C and A, fiber, potassium, are naturally low calorie and have a high water content (this helps keep you full). 

Oh, and after you've used your bounty of organic zucchini in a gazillion different ways, make sure to fix some zucchini bread! You can thank me later. ;)


Baked Organic Zucchini Boats | therisingspoon.com



Don't forget to pop over to The Sprouting Seed to snag a different summer squash recipe and follow our Healthy Vegetable Recipes Community Board on Pinterest to keep up with our monthly vegetable recipes.

Version #1: Baked Organic Zucchini Boat with Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella
Organic zucchini shells baked with fresh chopped organic tomatoes, basil, spices and shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese.
Yield: 2 halves 

Ingredients
1 medium organic zucchini, halved and shelled out
1 teaspoon of unrefined, virgin coconut oil
Diced yellow onion
Minced fresh garlic
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Zucchini innards (from one half)
Fresh basil leaves, chopped thinly
Sea salt (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
Cracked Black Pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
Organic tomato sauce or organic jarred pasta sauce
Freshly shredded organic, whole milk mozzarella cheese

Note: I didn't measure any of the filling ingredients for the zucchini because they were fairly small amounts and it was simpler to eyeball it. The amounts used will vary depending on the size and number of zucchini halves you're cooking. Simply use your own best judgement, season to taste, stuff and bake! :)

Recommended Equipment
cast-iron skillet

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the zucchini. Cut both ends off and halve it lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out most of the inner flesh, taking care to leave the shells (zucchini skin) intact. Set the zucchini flesh aside. Season the shells with a bit of sea salt and cracked black pepper and place on foil lined baking sheet or in a glass baking dish. 

Add the unrefined, virgin coconut oil to a cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Peel and dice the onion, add to the skillet and cook 4-5 minutes. Wash and chop the tomato. Peel and mince the garlic, add to the pan and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Toss in the tomatoes and zucchini innards, stir everything and cook for 2-3 minutes. Chop the basil leaves into thin strips and stir into the mixture. 

Season everything with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Line the bottom of each shell with a thin layer of tomato sauce or jarred pasta sauce. Scoop the filling equally into each zucchini shell until it's all used up. Shred mozzarella cheese liberally over each zucchini boat and baked uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the zucchini is fork tender.

Version #2: Baked Organic Zucchini Boat with Roasted Chicken, Tomato, Spinach, Goat Cheese & Parmesan
Organic zucchini shells baked with roasted pastured chicken, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, organic spinach, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and parmesan. 
Yield: 2 halves 

Ingredients
1 medium organic zucchini, halved and shelled out
1 teaspoon of unrefined, virgin coconut oil 
Diced yellow onion
Sweet red bell pepper, diced (use organic if possible)
Zucchini innards (from one half)
Organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Minced fresh garlic
Organic spinach leaves, chopped and stems torn off (save those for smoothies)
Roasted pastured chicken, torn into small pieces
Sea salt (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
Cracked black pepper
fresh lemon juice
Crushed red pepper flakes
Plain goat cheese, crumbled
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Note: I didn't measure any of the filling ingredients for the zucchini because they were fairly small amounts and it was simpler to eyeball it. The amounts used will vary depending on the size and number of zucchini halves you're cooking. Simply use your own best judgement, season to taste, stuff and bake!

Recommended Equipment
cast-iron skillet

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the zucchini. Cut both ends off and halve it lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out most of the inner flesh, taking care to leave the shells (zucchini skin) intact. Set the zucchini flesh aside. Season the shells with a bit of sea salt and cracked black pepper and place on foil lined baking sheet or in a glass baking dish.

Add the unrefined, virgin coconut oil to a cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Peel and dice the onion, add to the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes. Wash, de-seed and chop the bell pepper, add to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Wash, dry and halve the tomatoes, mince the garlic, remove the stems from the spinach and chop it roughly. 

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to one minute. Toss in the zucchini innards, tomatoes and spinach. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the tomato starts to soften and the spinach begins to wilt. Throw in the cooked chicken pieces to reheat and season everything to taste with sea salt, cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper and a few squirts of fresh lemon juice.

Scoop the filling equally into each zucchini shell until it's all used up. Crumble plain goat cheese liberally over each zucchini boat, then sprinkle a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the zucchini is fork tender. 

Notes & Tips
Feel free to use this basic recipe as base and incorporate whatever ingredients or leftovers you have at home.

If you can, please avoid conventional summer squash (like zucchini and yellow squash) and only buy organic. This because summer squash has a high-risk of being GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). Read more here.  


More Recipes From The Rising Spoon:

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What is your favorite way to cook summer squash?

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Baked Organic Zucchini Boats Two Ways | therisingspoon.com


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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter

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