Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

DSC_0126Now that the weather is starting to get nicer, I’m really getting excited about the Farmer’s Market.  Every Wednesday and Saturday morning in Springfield we have a wonderful Farmer’s Market downtown with a multitude of stands offering every kind of fresh produce you could ever dream of.  We love going to the Farmer’s Market, and this year will be especially fun since we get to introduce Wesley to it.

Every summer, it seems like we end up with a surplus of zucchini, one way or another.  It never fails, just as we buy some from the market, someone gives us some from their own garden, and we find ourselves looking for new ways to use it.  I found this recipe on Skinnytaste, and it looked easy, delicious, and healthy – right up my alley!

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Tim and I both thought it was scrumptious, and we felt good about eating it.  Along with some usual suspects – onion, garlic, pepper – I used Italian turkey sausage for the stuffing, which had a great flavor and made the dish pretty guilt free.  Of course, you top the stuffed zucchini with cheese and let that get all melty.  Yum!  I served ours with some spinach pasta we had in the pantry, but you could also use whole wheat pasta if you have that.  I used my go-to simple marinara sauce* from Rachael Ray, but you could use jarred sauce if you prefer. Oh, also, after you par boil the zucchini halves, make sure you pat them dry – still moist, but not dripping wet – before you stuff them, or they can get soggy.

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*Here’s a quick rundown of the marinara sauce.  Heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and about 3 cloves of smashed garlic.  Simmer until garlic is golden brown and then remove.  Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine or chicken stock and stir for 30 seconds.  Then add one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, stir in 10-15 leaves of torn basil, and simmer until you’re ready to serve.  Easy!

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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Ingredients:

  • marinara sauce, homemade* or store bought
  • 4  medium zucchini
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound Italian turkey sausage
  • 1-2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

Bring a large pot of water to boil and lightly salt the water.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4 inch around the edges.  Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini into small pieces and set aside.  Drop the zucchini halves in boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from water and pat dry.

Place zucchini halves cut side up in 9 x 13 baking dish.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, and brown the sausage, breaking up as it cooks into smaller pieces.  Remove from the skillet set aside. In the same skillet, heat the oil and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent.  Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes. Combine with sausage and cook another minute or two.

Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with some of the sausage mixture, pressing firmly. Top each with a spoonful of sauce and then mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.  Remove foil and bake for 5-10 more minutes to brown cheese to your liking.

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Enjoy!

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