Boy, you can get some HUGE zucchinis locally. I tried to grow two plants but the bugs ate my seedlings. :( Luckily, even monsters like the one I bought only cost 50c at the market.
The huge zucchinis are nowhere near as tender as the little 6" - 8" guys you find at most grocery stores. So, while they're good to fry up (they take a while), they're really good to stuff and bake. You definitely get your veggies out of this one - this made enough for two meals AND we had filling left over. So there's enough filling to do one of those monster zucchinis.
I used TVP here because frankly, we don't eat that much meat at a time any more. TVP lets us put in extra fiber and protein, but get a lighter, fluffier mix with less calories. Feel free to substitute your choice of meats if you feel like it.
Also, this works great with any kind of summer squash, though not all should be cut into steaks. Those neat 8-ball types that are round are especially good to hollow out for individual servings and even large patty-pan squash can hold a fair amount.
Stuffed Zucchini [printable recipe]
- 1 big zucchini
- 1/2 lb ground beef or pork
- 2/3 cup TVP (OR 1/2 lb ground meat, omit the broth)
- 2/3 cup beef broth
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded cheese
- 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 egg
- salt, pepper
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Cut the stem and blossom ends off of the zucchini. Slice lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. If you remove some of the meat, set the meat aside and discard the seeds. Rest in a 13x9 casserole dish. Brush melted butter all over the insides, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove.
While the zucchini cooks... In a deep skillet, brown the ground meat. Pour off any excess fat and remove to a bowl. Saute the onion in either a bit of fat from the meat or 1 tbsp oil, until tender and translucent. Add garlic and jalapeno, along with any reserved zucchini meat, and continue to cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Remove and combine with ground meat.
Combine TVP and broth in a small bowl and cover for 5 minutes. Stir gently to ensure TVP has fully reconstituted, then mix into the meat mixture. Stir in Worcestershire, rice, egg, basil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
Mound the mixture into the zucchini boats. Sprinkle liberally with breadcrumbs and then cheese. Bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese browns.
Slice into thick steaks and serve with rice or potatoes.