Full of fresh late summer veggies!
I keep telling myself I have to stop putting zucchini recipes on here this summer, but then, the next thing I know, there is a plate of some sort of new zucchini thing sitting in front of my camera. It’s like the zucchini are taking over everything – my garden, my mind, my blog, and most especially my dinner!
I tell you – they are insidious!
But today, I could not be more glad, because this is an absolutely fantastic meal. Ready in no time, it can be vegetarian or made with ground turkey for meat eaters, and it is low fat, gluten free and utilizes a bunch of nice fresh veggies that are so abundant right now.
I made both versions when we had these stuffed zucchini for dinner the other night, and you almost could not tell the difference between the vegetarian ones and the ones with meat. The quinoa adds such a hearty texture, and rich flavor that next time I’ll not even bother with the meat lovers version, because neither of us will miss it. Quinoa also packs in a ton of nutrition, protein and fiber, making this a nice substantial family meal.
It’s even adaptable for vegans, by leaving out the cheese, or substituting a vegan cheese instead of the shredded blend I used. It might or might not work for a low-carber as well, depending on your specific plan, but quinoa works pretty well for a lot of low carbers, and you can always reduce the amount a bit more if you like.
- 2 medium sized zucchini, about 10 to 12 inches long
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion cut in a small dice
- 1 medium sweet green pepper, cored, seeds removed and cut in a medium dice - about ½ inch.
- 1 cup [approx] fresh raw corn kernels [about 2 medium ears' worth]
- 1 cup cooked, rinsed black beans
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin [or more to taste]
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, like siracha or RedHot
- ½ cup red or white quinoa
- ¾ cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 medium tomato, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped cilantro
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, or a shredded blend, divided
- Start the broiler in your oven heating. line a large heavy baking sheet with foil [or not, if you don't mind a little scrubbing]
- Cut the zucchinis in halves, the long way. Use a spoon to scoop out the centers, reserving for the stuffing, leaving a good half inch of flesh all around to form a stuffable "boat"
- Brush about ½ teaspoon of olive all over the cut sides of the squash, and arrange the halves on the baking sheet, cut sides facing up.
- Place pan with squash under the broiler - the rack should be adjusted to leave a couple inches space above the squash. Check frequently, and turn the pan so the surfaces brown evenly. You want some nice color, but the squash should still be fairly firm when you take it out. Leave the broiler on, as you are going to need it again in a few minutes.
- Over a medium flame, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan.
- Meanwhile, chop the flesh from the squash, and add to the pan.
- Add the onion, pepper, corn and black beans and stir fry for a couple minutes.
- Add the garlic, cumin, oregano and hot sauce, and mix to combine.
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine metal strainer [some quinoa can taste soapy if it's not rinsed.]
- Add the quinoa and stock, and cover the pan.
- Lower the heat a bit and cook until the quinoa is tender - about 15 minutes, adding additional stock or water, if things start to stick at all.
- Remove the lid, and mix in the diced tomato, and the cilantro.
- Mix in ½ cup of the cheese.
- Portion the stuffing evenly among the browned zucchini halves [you may have a little stuffing left over], and top each one with ¼ of the remaining cheese.
- Return the pan to the broiler for a couple minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly - watch carefully so that it doesn't burn.
- Serve individual halves, or cut into slices for smaller portions. Can be garnished with avocado, hot sauce, chopped cilantro and some sour cream if you like.
A nutritious, very tasty meal, ready in about a half hour.Very adaptable, to use the ingredients you like and have on hand – change up the added veggies, the grain, the cheese. this is a dish that you can make your own!
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