A wonderful old farmer/wood-carver at our local farmer’s market has had these gorgeous round zucchini lately. I bought a couple this past weekend, and decided they were perfect for making stuffed zucchini. If you need to use regular zucchini, the recipe is the same, except you will likely need more than two zucchini to make enough food for your family. Plus they won’t be as cute.
This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe. If you replace the ground meat with meat-free “crumbles”, tofu, another meatless alternative, or simply omit it, it can be a vegan and vegetarian meal as well.
- 2 medium/large round zucchini (about 4 lbs of zucchini)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups broth, or 2 cups water
- olive or canola oil for sautéing
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tsp Herbes de Provence (if at all possible – I love the spices from The Spice House: no allergens added. If you don’t have any, you could use Italian seasoning, or a nice hand-made mix with some thyme in it)
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- **Optional: breadcrumbs safe for your food sensitivities
Preheat oven to 375. Find a 9×13 casserole pan, and oil it lightly.
Rinse the quinoa well in water, then put it in a pot with the 2 cups of broth/water. Bring to a boil, then cover and let it cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, cut the zucchini in half. Pick out any large seeds. Scoop out the “meat” of the zucchini, then dice it. Tip: an ice cream scoop does a great job of scooping out the zucchini! Leave about 1/4″ of zucchini wall around the outside, so it will maintain its shape during filling and baking. Organize the zucchini shells within the 9×13 pan.
Heat oil in a skillet to medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and celery. Cook until they start to become tender. Add salt and spices, and let them warm for a moment. Add meat (or alternative) and zucchini, and continue to cook until the chopped zucchini is softened and the meat is cooked through.
Drain the meat/vegetable mixture, then combine with the quinoa in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Scoop the mixture into the zucchini shells, mounding it on top a bit. Tent with aluminum foil, then put in the oven for 20 minutes to allow the zucchini shells time to soften. Remove the tent and cook for another 10 minutes.
**Optional: If you have some ingredient-free breadcrumbs, you could sprinkle them over the zucchini after you remove the tent and let them brown.
Remove from oven and serve. This is one of those all-in-one meals, though you can’t go wrong with a salad on the side with some more veggies from the farmer’s market!