Stuffed Zucchini with Pine Nut Salsa ~ zucchini boats stuffed with a delicious blend of sausage, tomato, cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs, topped with a lemony pine nut salsa that will knock your socks off! Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Simple.
Spring is the time for veggie-centric meals, and this stuffed zucchini is another example of how I’m slowly shifting the balance of my dinners away from meat and more toward plants, without giving up meat entirely.
There’s some crumbled Italian sausage in the stuffing, which makes them even more tempting imo, and turns these easy zucchini boats into a complete meal.
This recipe is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest book, Simple. I’ve had it for months but for some reason I’ve never gotten around to flipping thought it, which isn’t like me at all when it comes to my favorite chef. The mere mention of pine nut salsa sold me on this as my debut recipe from the book.
The pine nut salsa, which gets spooned on the the baked zucchini boats, is a simple (but ingenious) blend of toasted pine nuts, fresh oregano, lemon, and olive oil. I’m always happy to find recipes that call for fresh oregano because I have it in my backyard and it grows like a weed here in Southern California. I wonder how the salsa would work as a sauce for pasta? Might be pretty good :)
Sometimes stuffed veggie recipes can be absurdly (unnecessarily) complicated, but don’t worry, this one isn’t. The list of ingredients is short and the dish is easy to assemble.
Just mix up the quick stuffing, and mound it into your hollowed out zucchinis. Pop them in a hot oven for about 15-20 minutes and they come out sizzling and delicious.
Tips for stuffing vegetables ~
- Make sure to hollow out your veggies enough so that you have room for the stuffing, but not so much that it collapses during cooking. Try to leave about 1/2 inch all around.
- Press the stuffing into all corners of the cavity, and press it down firmly. Mound it up slightly because the stuffing will shrink during cooking.
- If you are stuffing a dense vegetable you may want to par-cook it first. Zucchini is soft, and so there’s no need for that here.
- If you’d like to make this ahead, prep and stuff the zucchini, then bake off when you’re ready.
Love stuffed vegetables? Here are some other good ideas ~
- Spiced Lamb and Couscous Stuffed Peppers ~ a Middle Eastern take on one of my favorite comfort foods, stuffed peppers. The spices in here are fragrant and so delicious.
- Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash ~ a fun way to serve chili, these stuffed squash boats are as cute as they are delish.
- Greek Style Stuffed Artichokes ~ probably the most elegant stuffed veggie ever.
- Stuffed Pepper with Picadillo ~ I’d love to travel the world sampling every culture’s version of stuffed peppers, this is Mexico’s.
Stuffed Zucchini with Pine Nut Salsa
- 2 large zucchini
- 2 Italian sausage sweet or hot
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese loosely measured, not packed
- 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely diced tomato
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- olive oil
- a few Tbsp of crumbled feta cheese
pine nut salsa
- 1/4 cup pine nuts that have been toasted heat them over medium heat in a skillet for several minutes, stirring constantly until they turn golden
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 475F
- Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the inside, leaving 1/2 inch of the zucchini around the edge. Put the scooped zucchini flesh in a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. You should have about 1/2 cup left.
- Remove the sausage from the casings and brown in a pan, crumbling it as you cook.
- Mix the zucchini flesh, the sausage crumbles, garlic, egg, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, the tomatoes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Arrange the zucchini in a large casserole. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and lightly season with salt. Stuff each of the cavities with the stuffing mixture, pressing down to get as much in as possible. Scatter the feta cheese over the top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until sizzling and golden.
- While the zucchini bakes, make the salsa by mixing together all the ingredients.
- Serve the zucchini with the salsa spooned over the top.
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