Jun 082014
 

It finally feels like summer is here and more and more fresh veggies are starting to appear in the farmers markets. To celebrate the start of summer, I wanted to make a super healthy and vegetable focused meal. I’ve stuffed a lot of vegetables before…bell peppers with southwestern turkey-quinoa filling, baby peppers with ricotta, peas, and pancetta, and mushrooms with sundried tomato, corn, and goat cheese. But never before had I stuffed a zucchini. Well this might have been the first but it will certainly not be the last.
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I think ratatouille (and I’m talking about the food, not the animated mouse) is highly underrated. As the vegetables cook down with plenty of garlic, ratatouille gets a little bit sweet and is just pretty magical. In this recipe, while the scooped out zucchinis roast, you make the ratatouille and quinoa on the stove. Stuff the pre-cooked zucchinis with the quinoa-rata mixture and top with fresh goat cheese and panko break crumbs. I seriously can’t emphasize enough how ridiculously good these were.
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Nutritional highlights: This recipe would make a great side dish or a vegetarian main course. The majority of the ingredients are vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and onions, and I truly believe that even those who aren’t huge vegetable fans would love it in ratatouille form. By mixing in some quinoa the protein and fiber content goes way up. The goat cheese can be left off if you want to keep it vegan, but the small amount of cheese adds calcium and protein, and an amazing tart-creaminess to bring the whole dish together.
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Zucchini Boats with Ratatouille, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese
makes 4-6 zucchini boats (serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main)
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What’s in it:
2 large or 3 small zucchinis
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 eggplant, chopped
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa (from about 1/4 cup dry)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons whole wheat panko bread crumbs
2 oz goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh basil, (half chopped and half left as whole leaves)

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Prepare all your ingredients. Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise and scoop out the inside with a spoon (but save it for your ratatouille!). Mince the garlic, chop the onion, eggplant, red pepper, and zucchini filling.
3. Spray zucchini with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven cut side up for about 13-15 minutes or until slightly tender and beginning to brown.
4. Meanwhile cook quinoa according to directions and make the ratatouille. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add 1 more teaspoon olive oil and add the chopped eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Stir in the red wine vinegar and the chopped basil and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the 1 cup cooked quinoa into the ratatouille and stir to combine.
6. Stuff as much quinoa-ratatouille filling as possible into each of the zucchinis. Top with the crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkling of panko. Bake for 8 minutes until the breadcrumbs are toasted and the cheese begins to brown.
7. Top with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!
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If this doesn’t look like summer, than I don’t know what does.
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  3 Responses to “Zucchini Boats with Ratatouille, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese”

  1. This looks amazing!!

  2. Looks so tasty Marissa – I love making zucchini boat and stuffed peppers! definitely going to try this out!
    http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

  3. Anxious to try…looks & sounds absolutely AMAZING!

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