Sunday, October 9, 2011

Meatless Monday: Stuffed Zucchini

I almost skipped Meatless Monday last week, as Ben was out of town, and the girls couldn't care less whether we go meatless or not. However, I remembered seeing an image of stuffed zucchini on Pinterest that looked promising (you should follow my food board, here). Most importantly for me, it was easily adaptable, so I went for it. There was also a *kid-pleasing* presentation option I was hopeful about. *Be sure to read my Recipe Tips at the end of the post!*

recipe heavily adapted from here

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
To make the stuffed zucchini "boats," you first need to carve out the hull of the zucchini. To do that, cut the squash lengthwise...

Then, using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the flesh. Don't toss it, though! It goes into the filling later. Place the squash in a lightly buttered for oiled baking dish.

What you fill the zucchini with is entirely up to you, and this is where I did my own variation using Texturized Soy Protein ("TSP")


TSP is a soy product made to resemble meat in texture. It's what soy burgers are made of, but also comes in a dried version that is easily reconstituted to a spongy protein source. It also acts like its sister product, tofu, in that it takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with, so it's very versatile.


For the remainder of the filling I used:
  • the scooped zucchini flesh - chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Cheese, shredded to taste for topping
While the TSP soaks, cook the onion and carrot with olive oil until they begin to soften - about 10-15 minutes.

Next, add the garlic, tomato, red pepper and drained TSP (Be sure to follow package directions) Let the veggies and soy cook on med-low for about 10 more minutes, stirring to blend flavors.

Spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats, and sprinkle the top with parsley for added color and flavor.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese, then return to oven, and turn on broiler to melt the cheese - about 5-7 minutes.

I played up the "boat" aspect of the zucchini for Avery, complete with sail and "water" salad. She was mildly amused. :/

Nutrition Round-Up
  • This recipe is low calorie and low fat
  • If you use TSP, it is a good source of a low-fat, complete protein
  • Using Carrots, Onions, Bell Pepper and Tomato (as well as the zucchinis themselves!) makes this recipe a good source of dietary fiber and nutrients such as Beta Carotene and Vitamin C.
*Recipe Tips for the next time I make this*
  1. The zucchini was a little too raw/crisp for me. If you're trying to eat at least a percentage of raw food, I think this version will suffice, but for my family, next time I'll either steam or parboil the zucchini before filling it.
  2. The recipe I went by called for the mixture to include sour cream. Sour cream doesn't exist in Brazil, so I skipped it, but the mixture definitely could've used some kind of binder and/or richener. Next time, I'll use either a soft cheese or plain yogurt to add a bit more richness.
  3. Going back to the hearty-ness factor, this recipe was lacking. I'm pretty sure I was hungry again within an hour or so, and likely had a bowl of cereal as my nightcap! It might be better served as a side dish....


  1. I made something similar not too long ago, except it was yellow squash boats. The filling was squash, garlic and onion mixed with goat cheese and bulgar wheat. Maybe if you add some grains, they'll fill you up more? Agreed on the rawness factor too--I baked the empty boats for a bit first to give them a headstart before adding the fillings.

    Love the sail! You're one of the cool moms. I can tell.