Stuffed Zucchini, Sicilian Style
Traveling to Sicily opened my eyes to a lot of foods I had discounted as not that interesting. Zucchini is one of them. Considered to be easy to grow but not that flavorful, this recipe proved me wrong.
Makes 4 main course servings or 8 side dish servings
2 large zucchini, split lengthwise, flesh scooped out, mashed and reserved
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 yellow onion, small dice
Small pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 stalks celery, small dice
½ cup vegan mozzarella substitute, tiny dice
Whole wheat bread crumbs
2 cups tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 375o and lightly oil a shallow baking dish that will accommodate the zucchini halves laying side by side.
Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onion in a small skillet over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, sauté with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes for 3-4 minutes. In another skillet, place a small amount of oil, celery and mashed zucchini flesh over medium heat. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for about 2 minutes. Stir in sautéed onion and garlic, season to taste and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in vegan cheese. Fold in enough bread crumbs to hold the mixture together as a stuffing (as little as one half cup, as much as one cup).
Lay the zucchini halves, cut side up, in the baking dish. Spoon filling abundantly into each half. Spoon tomato sauce generously over top the stuffed zucchini and bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Cook’s Tip: You can make your own tomato sauce or purchase an unsweetened version in any supermarket. Just read the labels carefully so you know what you’re getting.