Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Little boys in summer

Got too much zucchini?

If you're a better gardener than I am, there may come a point in July or August where you have more zucchini than you know what to do with. This is a delicious way to use up a lot of zucchini, and it makes a great main dish for company because you can have it ready to go, put it in the oven when the guests arrive, and then have plenty of time for a drink and some appetizers (maybe baba ganoush and crackers) before the stuffed zucchini are ready to eat.

How to make Stuffed Zucchini:

(this takes about two and a half hours to make and bake, so allow enough time).

Preheat oven to 400 F. Begin by cooking 1/2 cup of rice with a cup of water in a small saucepan. Use high heat until the water boils, then simmer over low heat until the rice has absorbed all the water. Meanwhile, cut off both ends of ten medium-sized zucchini. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a knife to make two long cuts in a V so that you remove the center seeds of each zucchini half. Put the insides of the zucchini in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Put the zucchini boats side by side in a 9x13 roasting pan or a casserole. Mash the zucchini insides in the bowl, and add 1 chopped onion, the cooked rice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, a can (6 ounces) of tomato paste, a handful of chopped fresh mint, a teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Mix, and then squish this filling into the zucchini boats. It's okay if they're heaped pretty high. Pour the juice of one lemon over the top.

Put the roasting pan in the oven, and then pour a cup of water into the pan around the zucchini boats. Put a baking sheet on top of the roasting pan to keep the stuffed zucchini from drying out. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

As soon as the zucchini are out of the oven, make an avogolemeno sauce to go with it. Serve the stuffed zucchini with the sauce, and with a big tomato-and-cucumber salad.

Vegetarian or vegan?

Naturally vegan, unless you use the avgolomeno sauce. If you want a vegan sauce, you could just use plain lemon juice, or mix tahini with lemon juice, water, and salt. If you'd rather this had meat in it, mix 1/2 pound of ground lamb with the filling.

And will stuffed zucchini keep?

Yes, stuffed zucchini are actually better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to blend. You can microwave them to heat them up. They doesn't freeze well though.