Dollop of zest cooks what’s in season and when the farm stands are overflowing with delicious looking (and tasting) zucchini it’s not hard! The last few weeks have seen zucchini cooked up all sorts of ways – grilled, sautéed, in salads, and now a “Z Boat”.
Z boats feel retro to me. That may be because I haven’t cooked one in years and I definitely haven’t seen them on restaurant menus recently. I’m not sure why, zucchini, meat, cheese, sautéed vegetables, tomatoes – what’s not to like? Maybe this will be just the buzz Z Boats need to get them “trending”.
When picking zucchini for boats it’s easiest to use the yachts; ones that are at least as round as a soda can and more than 10″ long. You can use shorter ones if that’s what’s available or if you prefer to make individual dinghys (OK, I’ll stop with the boat puns now). I’d suggest still picking out the roundest ones so there’s enough shell for stuffing once you scoop out the “zucchini meat”. After cutting the zucchini in half lengthwise hold half the zucchini in one hand and using a tablespoon or melon baller gently scoop out the zucchini meat. Do not go too close to the edges or bottom of the shell as you’ll want to make sure the boat has enough support for the sides to stand up once it’s stuffed – no sinking boats (I couldn’t resist that one).
Opting for a healthier version I chose lean ground turkey, Shady Brook Farms® is my preference. Ground beef or pork work well too. I also used Italian style bread crumbs which reduced the spices that needed to be added. If you don’t have Italian style in your kitchen you can use plain bread crumbs and just add a teaspoon of oregano and parsley to the bread crumbs.
If you’re hosting or going to a July 4th party next weekend and need a dish that you can make in advance, travels well and is a crowd pleaser this will do the trick.
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Yellow onion – 1 finely chopped
- Garlic – 4 cloves crushed
- Green pepper – ½ chopped
- Red pepper – ½ chopped
- Black pepper – ½ tsp
- Lean ground turkey – ½ lb
- Zucchini – 2 scooped out
- Zucchini “meat” chopped – 1 cup
- Italian style bread crumbs – ½ cup
- Shredded parmesan cheese– ½ cup
- Tomatoes – 2 chopped
- Egg – 1
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Cut zucchini in half length wise and scoop out inside, "meat" of the zucchini (a tablespoon or melon baller work best)
- Put zucchini boats aside
- Chop the zucchini "meat" reserving 1 cup
- Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until golden brown
- Add green and red peppers to pan and sauté 5 minutes
- Add ground turkey meat and black pepper to pan and cook until turkey is almost cooked, stirring regularly
- Add zucchini meat to pan and cook until turkey meat is completely cooked
- Remove from heat and let meat mixture cool
- Pour bread crumbs and parmesan into a large bowl
- Add meat mixture into bowl and mix thoroughly
- Add egg and chopped tomatoes to bowl and mix
- Fill zucchini boats with meat mixture
- Place zucchini boats in an oven safe baking dish and fill pan ¼ way with water
- Cover with foil
- Place on rack in oven
- Bake for 30 minutes
- Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes or until boats are cooked (soft) and brown on the edges
- Serve immediately