Ever since I was a little girl, tramping barefoot in the back yard to my dad’s lush garden to help him pick vegetables for dinner, zucchini has been a delicious symbol of summer. Sometimes tiny and barely big enough for dinner, and sometimes as long and wide as my arm, we always had dark green zucchini and bright yellow summer squash at the ready, in the summer months. And even if I inevitably got sick of squash, by the end of the season, I always looked forward to the zucchini harvest at the height of every summer. Now grown, with a little girl who loves tramping through Poppa’s garden (though unfortunately his zucchini harvest was dismal at best, this year), zucchini is still one of my favorite summer vegetables. I’ve been experimenting with it a lot this summer, and zucchini boats have probably been my favorite simple preparation, as of late. Beyond easy, these can be prepared in the oven or on the grill, and stuffed with anything you desire- but I love the simplicity of an Italian spiced ground beef.
Italian Zucchini Boats 3-4 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out to create a ‘boat’olive oil and sea salt, as needed 1/2 medium onion, diced1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced (optional) 2 cloves garlic 1 lb grass-fed ground beef or turkey 1 tbsp Italian seasoning 1/2 tsp sea salt 1 can diced tomatoes, drained optional- 2 cups chopped kale or spinachparmesan cheese, to top (optional) 1. Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and place cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, until zucchini is starting to soften. Remove and flip, letting cool slightly before stuffing. 2. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large deep-sided pan. Add onion, mushrooms if using and garlic and cook until translucent. Add ground meat and season with Italian seasoning and salt. 3. Cook until no longer pink. Stir in tomatoes and kale if using and cook another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. 4. Divide between ‘boats’ and top with parmesan cheese, if using. Place in oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, broiling for 1-2 more to brown cheese. Serve hot. Oh, and if you’re wondering if this is a kid friendly recipe…
She ate a whole zucchini, herself. 😉 Enjoy!
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