I’m so excited to share this… I have a new partnership with the LA Salad Company, and I’m the new Guest Blogger on their website! It’s a really cool arrangement: in exchange for free veggies, I’m giving them veggie-based recipes for their website. I’m featured at the bottom of LA Salad Company’s home page (see it here), and have my very own page that has photos, a quickie version of my weight-loss story, and, of course, the recipes.
LA Salad Company sells all sorts of veggies to restaurants and supermarkets all across the United States and Canada. A couple recent recipes – my Baked Green Bean Fries and my Beef and Butternut Stew – were made using their products, and they were delicious. But don’t worry, loyal readers, nothing will end up on my LA Salad Company page that you can’t also find right here!
The first veggies my friends at the LA Salad Company sent me were… zucchinis!
And I had a great idea about what I was going to do with them.
Plus, I learned something new! Zucchinis are sold by farmers to distributors in different sizes, including medium, fancy (which are smaller), and extra-fancy (which are the smallest). My zucchini qualify as extra-fancy, as they meet the size standard (5″-6″ long and 1″-1.5″ wide), but LA Salad Company can’t label them as such, because they also sell to distributors in Canada, where the extra-fancy standard isn’t recognized. Therefore, they’re packaged as Italian Zucchini, which apparently means the same thing. The wholesale zucchini market is much more complex than I EVER could have imagined.
For Easter, I used zucchini in my Veggie Ribbons with Rosemary and Ginger recipe, and it was a hit. I loved the one-two flavor punch of rosemary and ginger, so I decided to use both ingredients, but switch up the other stuff. And that’s how I came up with my recipe for…
Rosemary Ginger Zucchini Boats!
First of all you gotta make the zucchini boats. NO! First, you gotta preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Then make your boats. I used 4 zucchini. Cut off the ends and discard. Cut them lengthwise, and, using a small knife or spoon, hollow out each half so they look like boats.
Now for something to go in the boats! Dice up the zucchini that you scooped out into tiny little bits, and dump them in a bowl. Add to that bowl:
- 1/2 red bell pepper, also diced
- about a cup of mushrooms, you guessed it: diced.
Put a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and slick it good with Pam. While it’s heating, start chopping:
- 1/2 red onion (or a little less), diced finely
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- hunk of fresh ginger (about the same size as your garlic clove), minced
Add these three ingredients to the skillet and start them cooking.
After a minute or two, add the mushrooms, red pepper, and zucchini. Also add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. I chopped about half of it really finely, so it could incorporate throughout, and left half the needles nearly whole, because I thought it would be pretty that way. Cook it all together for another 5-6 minutes, until everything is tender.
Transfer the cooked veggies back into the bowl, and add:
- 3 tablespoons fat-free Feta cheese crumbles (or use parmesan, or whatever cheese you like. You can add more cheese, too, but I wanted to keep it light and just add a hint of creaminess)
- 4 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs (for a little crunch)
- 2 egg whites (which will help bind everything together)
Be sure to add the eggs last, and definitely after the veggies are out of the skillet, because you don’t want the eggs to cook until they go into the oven.
Then, start filling up your boats with the filling! Pile it up, although don’t pile it so high that it spills over.
Line up your stuffed boats in a shallow baking dish (I used a tart pan; it was the perfect size). Sprinkle a few more bread crumbs on top (sprinkle more cheese, too, if you’d like). Pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your zucchini. You want them to be tender and cooked all the way through, but not overdone, so they go limp. These guys took 35 minutes, and they came out looking like this:
The ginger and rosemary were infused throughout, and there was a great contrast between the cooked zucchini and the filling, which was even softer and more flavorful.
Plus, you can adapt this basic idea and stuff zucchini boats with anything you want! Use tomato sauce, mozzarella and oregano for pizza-themed boats. Toss in chopped chicken or ham with the veggies to add protein. Leave out the cheese and bread crumbs and sprinkle in low-sodium soy sauce and peanuts to give it an Asian flair. It’s up to you!
I have a few more zucchini left… maybe I’ll try one of these adaptations, or find another healthy way to fill up a zucchini boat!
Keep it up, David!