While spending time with family this summer, one of my aunts recruited me to help her recreate a zucchini boat recipe that she had once made, but could no longer find the instructions for. I thought it was going to just be your every day, run-of-the-mill sort of grilled zucchini boats, like one might eat at a summer barbecue (is that a normal barbecue food, or is that just something my family does?). Wrong, wrong, wrong was I! Armed with four different handwritten stuffed zucchini boat recipes that my aunt mysteriously produced, we set about combining and adjusting them until we arrived at something we were pleased with. This is the result, and although it is a bit labor-intensive, it is definitely tasty. And a good way to use up the last summer zucchini and impress the guests you feed it to, to boot!
Cheesy Mushroom Zucchini Boats
2 big zucchinis (this is a good way to use the overgrown club-like ones from your garden)
Cooking spray or olive oil
1-8 oz. package button mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion (yellow or white)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 C. shredded Italian blend cheese
1/2 C. fresh grated parmesan
1/2 C. ricotta
1 C. bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. parmesan
2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Take your humongous zucchinis (have a gander at the photo below if you’d like an idea of exactly how humongous we’re talking about), and cut them in half lengthwise, and then in half again crosswise.
- Hollow them out, leaving about 1/4” of shell. You can use a paring knife to slice out the zucchini stuff, or you can use a grapefruit spoon to excavate and scrape it out. Or use a combo of both! We ended up settling on a teamwork approach with my aunt cutting out most of the stuff and then me cleaning up with the grapefruit spoon. Put all the cut up zucchini insides in a bowl to save for later.
- Clean and chop the mushrooms. Mince the garlic and onion. Get all the knife work out of the way in one step!
Cat treats optional.
- In a large frying pan, melt the 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant, and then add the chopped mushrooms.
- Sauté the shroomies and add the 2 tsp. of lemon juice. Cook for about 3 minutes, and then add all the chopped zucchini insides. Add 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning and a dash of salt and fresh ground pepper, and cook it for about 3-4 minutes, or until the juices come out.
- Take the veggie mixture out of the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it into a large mixing bowl. (It’s okay if a little liquid hitchhikes along.) Add the cup of Italian cheese blend, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 1/2 cup of ricotta, and 1 cup bread crumbs, and mix well.
- Arrange the boats in a glass baking dish that’s been cooking sprayed or olive oiled down, and use a spoon to fill the zucchini shells with the mixture. If there’s more than you can fit in the shells, it tastes good on top of crackers, as well!
- In a small bowl, mix the 2 Tbsp. of parmesan with the 2 Tbsp. of bread crumbs and 1 tsp. of salt. Sprinkle this on top of the zucchini boats so you will have a nice, crispy topping to all the cheesy goodness.
- Slide the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the crumbs on top are toasted lightly brown.
- Take it out of the oven and serve! A boat makes a good meal by itself, or you can serve them with pan-fried chicken for a tasty treat.
How do you like to bring tasty veggie goodness to your table? Do you have any summer party recipes you break out when you want to impress?