When spring’s seeds turn into fresh summer produce, it’s likely you’ll find yourself with more fruits and vegetables than you know what to do with. You can dip cucumbers and bell peppers into hummus, make an easy caprese salad with tomatoes and turn your berries into summertime desserts. But one plant, zucchini, seems to really thrive in the summer. After grilling zucchini and turning it into zoodles and soup, what else is there to do with this simple summer squash? The answer, my friends, is zucchini boats.
Zucchini boats are aptly named. You take garden fresh zucchini, slice it in half and scoop out some of the center. Then, you mix together the center pulp with a filling (in this case, mushrooms, brown rice and marinara sauce), refill the zucchini, top the whole thing with cheese and bake. Soon, you’ll be sailing away to a delicious, fresh summertime meal.
This recipe is 100% plant-based and uses chopped mushrooms, marinara sauce and vegan cheese for flavor. But you can make this vegetarian by using dairy mozzarella or swap 1 cup of seasoned ground beef for the mushrooms to turn this into an omnivorous dish. But don’t be afraid of the “plant-based” label; this is one of those vegan recipes that are so good you won’t miss meat!
This kid-friendly recipe is healthy and hearty, and it will taste even better in the summer thanks to the super fresh vegetables used. But if your garden isn’t overflowing with summer squash, here’s what to make with tomatoes, peppers, greens and more summer produce.
Recipe courtesy of Liv B’s Easy Everyday, by Olivia Biermann.
- 1/3 cup short-grain brown rice
- 2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup diced mushrooms
- 3/4 cup store-bought marinara sauce
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese shreds
Step 1: Cook 1/3 cup brown rice according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 400F. Line an 8-cup (2 liter) rectangular casserole dish with parchment paper.
Step 3: Scoop out the center of each zucchini half, reserving the pulp. Place the hollowed-out zucchini boats in the prepared casserole dish and set aside. Roughly chop the reserved pulp.
Step 4: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 cup diced mushrooms and zucchini pulp; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
Step 5: Add the brown rice, 3/4 cup marinara sauce and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until warmed through.
Step 6: Spoon the filling evenly into the zucchini boats. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese and pepper.
Step 7: Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
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By Carolyn Menyes
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