Gluten Free Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Warm weather is approaching and we’ve all got the beach on our minds. Whether it be ditching work to lay out, festival season, slimming down for the summer, or cooking lighter meals, we are all looking for ways to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather. These Stuffed Zucchini Boats are simple, packed with flavor, and an easy way to get some veggies into your families’ tummies. They can be Gluten Free and are Paleo if you leave out the cheese! :) They are also beautiful for entertaining and are easy on the wallet.
I’ve been on an Italian sausage kick recently, especially since I found New York Style Sausage Company’s Mild Italian Sausage at Costco. I first started purchasing them for my One Skillet Lasagna, and had a bunch leftover. Sure, you can Google Italian Sausage recipes, but the most common results are heavy pasta dishes tossed with the sausage. These are hearty, flavorful, and much lighter fare for these upcoming summer months. Let's get baking!
What You Need:
- 4-5 medium zucchini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ small yellow onion
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- ¾ lb Gluten Free Mild Italian Sausage (about 3 sausages)
- ½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup GF tomato-basil marinara sauce
- 5 sprigs fresh basil
- Salt & Pepper
What To Do:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Wash your zucchini, and cut the ends off. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, and use a small spoon or melon baller to scrape out the insides of each zucchini half. Don’t scoop all the way down to the skin - you want a nice deep pocket for the stuffing, but you don’t want to weaken the walls of your boats! :)
- Save the pulp and chop it up into bite sized chunks. I simply used kitchen scissors to make the pieces smaller. Try your hardest to drain the excess liquid from the zucchini pulp.
- Dice half a small onion and your garlic. Slice open each Italian sausage and remove the casings. I find it much easier to break the sausage meat apart with your hands instead of using a spatula to break up the meat in the pan.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Combine the zucchini pulp, onion, garlic, and sausage. I added the zucchini pulp last because it doesn’t take long to cook thru, and adds a ton of moisture to the mix. Season with salt & pepper, and whatever seasoning you like. Cook them together for about 5-6 minutes, until the onions are softened and the sausage is browned. It doesn’t necessarily need to be cooked through because it’s going to be baked. Drain your mixture to remove excess moisture that will surely come from the zucchini pulp.
- Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the cheese and set it aside. Add the rest of the cheese to the meat mixture.
- Stack the basil leaves on top of each other, and roll them up gently. Slice thin strips of basil and add these and the marinara sauce to the meat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Now it’s time to fill up your boats! Use a spoon to fill each zucchini. Set each stuffed zucchini onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.
- Bake them for 30 minutes at 350F, or until baked thru and tender.
Easy peasy! Once all your prep is done, these are a breeze to make. Pop them in the oven and they are finished by the time you’re done cleaning the kitchen. The flavors of the stuffing are bold and homey, without the heavy feeling of eating a big pasta dish. The zucchini is tender and its fresh flavor balances out the stuffing. Let me know if you try these out! They’re really a great base for any sort of stuffing, really :)