Monday, March 30, 2009

Ideas for stuffed zucchini

Zucchini is one of those summer vegetables that multiply like weeds. Plant a couple plants in the garden and you're soon rewarded with bushels of the summer squash.

You harvest much more than you can eat. At first your friends welcome the fruit, but soon run when they see you coming. Most quickly tire of the vegetable unless you know 101 ways to cook it.

I plan to purchase a box of zucchini every week or two this summer for my camp job. Since the kids and staff will only eat so much in salads, I need to work on ideas to use the zucchini. My creamy zucchini basil soup will help use up several pounds and as will zucchini bread.

While I often peruse cookbooks and magazines, I get more ideas while watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. It's amazing how your brain can take in an image in a flash and process it into a collection of ideas.

Tonight's idea came as I caught a lead-in to one of the segments on Guy Fieri's weekly show on the Food Network. In a three-second glance, the chef lifted a stuffed zucchini from the baking dish and set it on the plate.

My first though was to cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the meat on both halves. Almost any filling -- especially vegetarian -- will work. I can either bake the halves or put them back together and bake the zucchini whole.

I figure that I can also hollow the squash out with a long, thin tool and stuff them with a piping bag and plain tip. Here are several stuffing ideas that I came up with while watching the show:
  • Softened cream cheese with Parmesan, garlic and hot sauce
  • Sauteed spinach, crimini mushroom and bread crumbs
  • Sauteed onion, garlic and chopped zucchini pulp folded into seasoned bread crumbs
  • Filling for stuffed bell peppers (usually rice)
  • Any pizza ingredients (meat or otherwise)
I'm not sure if I'll have to parboil the zucchini yet. It should be a simple dish that can be prepared with a bit of elegance for hungry campers and staff. And, as you can see, stuffed zucchini is easily adapted to a vegetarian entree.

What are your ideas for filling the summer vegetable?


  1. Couple of comments for this one Steve:

    MAN! My wife and I love 3D or Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives also Ace of Cakes (because it has that comedy appeal to it also) BUT I just wanted to add that if your internet is good enough you can watch whole episodes of 3D on the food network site (along with some of the other popular shows).

    My suggestion would be to use an apple core and push the whole straight thru(of course this works better if you cut the zucchini to not be longer than the apple corer) then fill it like a canolli , a savory ricotta mixture, a chorizo breadsrumb/stuffing mixture, or maybe stand them up and fill with a quiche/egg/souffle type filling and bake.

    That last one might be an appetizer possibility...

    The good thing for me is Steve got my creative juices flowing and I happen to have some Zucchin in the house!

    Thanks Steve!

  2. My wife will slice the zucchini long and slim so that she can make lasagna using the squash instead of pasta... Ed

  3. Thanks, Ed and Tyrone. Ed, substituting zucchini for pasta is something I've never done. We'll see if I get a chance to try it this summer.