Zucchini is one of my least favorite vegetables. There, I said it. Sure, I can tolerate an occasional zucchini bread, and I rarely order zucchini fries at the local fried fish take out restaurant, but besides those few exceptions zucchini is a no-no for me. And yet, so many people seem to actually like it. So, I’m figuring there must be some tolerable way to include this veggie in my repertoire.
The search was endless. Chocolate zucchini cupcakes, breads of all sorts, zucchini chips (I must try that one), zucchini casseroles, zucchini spaghetti, etc., etc., etc. The picture that caught my attention this week was pizza! No, not a traditional pizza, but the flavors of pizza made with zucchini. So here goes, fingers crossed!
Prep Time: 20mins
Cooking Time: 35mins
3 small zucchini (I used locally grown, conventional)
1/2 container of grape tomatoes (I used organic)
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Fresh Parmesan (thin sliced)
Whole milk Mozzarella (though I think partially skim would work fine too)
Dried Italian Spices (optional)
Pesto (optional–I used the premade from Whole Foods antipasto bar)
Olive Tapenade (optional–same as above, Whole Foods antipasto bar)
Set oven to 400°F
Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil
Wash tomatoes and zucchini
Cut ends off zucchini the cut in half lengthwise (I ran into a problem with my boats tipping over when filling them. I finally got smart by the third boat. Either slice a small bit from the bottom of each boat, so that it is more stable; or when cutting the zucchini in half, turn it so that it is unstable while cutting it so each half sits more stable when halved. If you just let the zucchini sit on the board when cutting it, that’s when your halves will wobble. Geez, I hope that makes sense to more than just me.)
Next, spoon out the seeds, but be sure to leave some on the ends so your fillings don’t just ooze out. They should look like cute little green canoes when you’re done.
Place boats on cookie sheet.
Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and line them up side by side in the boats.
If you wish to add italian spices, pesto, or tapenade, do it now. Sprinkle or spoon it over the tomatoes evenly.
Drizzle olive oil over the fillings.
Next, slice your parmesan cheese (my grater has 4 sides and makes nice even slices which worked great). Place over the tomatoes evenly the whole length of the boat.
Now sprinkle generously with grated mozzarella cheese.
Don’t add any salt. The cheese should be salty enough for this recipe.
Bake for 35 minutes at 400°F. If your cheese isn’t a golden brown (as mine wasn’t), put the oven on broil for a couple minutes. (I will warn you here that my oven started to smoke when I did this because I wasn’t neat when putting on my mozzarella. What had fallen directly to the foil started to burn when I put on the broiler, but it didn’t affect the boats, it just required I stay by the oven during this part of the process and keep the overhead fan on, on the stove)
This gets the ‘freakin awesome’ award! I knew I was eating zucchini, but it wasn’t mushy or gross! I think getting rid of the seeds really helped in this regard. They were great tasting and had the right textures. The best tasting was the pesto boat to me, second best was the tapenade. I might have liked the plain one better, but I didn’t use any italian spices. I definitely think the plain one needs that little extra flavor of spices to work well. Also, they were still good when cooled down, but best when they came right out of the oven piping hot with the cheese still all gooey.
Keep in mind the little extra prep time for this one. For me, it won’t work during the week when I want something quick. But, this will be a go to recipe on the weekends!
Cleanup and instuments used:
Not bad for cleaning up. A knife, spoon, cutting board, measuring spoon, cheese grater, plate for cheese, spatula, and plate and fork for eating. The cookie sheet needed no cleaning because of the foil I used.