There's something incredibly satisfying about biting into a Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini. The zucchini shell, the fluffy quinoa filling, and the crispy breadcrumb topping - it's a symphony of textures and flavors. But if you think this dish requires hours in the kitchen, think again. With our Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini recipe, all you need is a handful of ingredients, including nutrient-packed quinoa, and a simple baking process to create a meal that's delicious, healthy, and impressively elegant.
Today, we're diving into a recipe that is not only delectable but also packed full of nutrition: Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini. This dish is a delightful blend of wholesome quinoa and fresh zucchini, creating a meal that's both hearty and light.
Our star ingredient, quinoa, is a superfood rich in protein and fiber. It has a wonderfully fluffy texture and a slightly nutty flavor, making it the perfect filling for our zucchini boats. Combined with an array of veggies and spices, the quinoa transforms into a colorful, flavorful stuffing that's sure to impress.
On the other hand, zucchini, with its delicate flavor and tender texture, serves as the perfect vessel for our quinoa stuffing. When baked, the zucchini becomes beautifully soft, its natural sweetness complementing the savory quinoa stuffing. Plus, it's a great way to sneak in some extra veggies!
This Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini recipe is not just about great taste, it's about embracing wholesome, nutritious ingredients without compromising on flavor. So, whether you're a seasoned chef or a kitchen newbie, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
- Zucchini: This is the star of our dish, acting as a vessel for our quinoa stuffing. If zucchini isn't available, you can also use yellow summer squash or even bell peppers.
- Red Onion: Adds a sweet, sharp flavor to our stuffing. Shallots or white onions can be used as alternatives.
- Garlic: Brings a depth of flavor to the dish. If fresh garlic isn't available, garlic powder can be used instead.
- Quinoa: A superfood packed with protein and fiber that forms the base of our stuffing. Bulgur wheat, couscous, or rice could be used as substitutes.
- Tomato Juice: Provides moisture and tang to the quinoa. Vegetable broth or chicken broth could be used if tomato juice isn't on hand.
- Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the flavors of the dish. Feel free to adjust according to your taste preference.
- Tomato: Adds freshness and a bit of acidity to balance out the flavors. You could substitute with bell peppers or diced canned tomatoes.
- Basil: Gives the dish a fresh, aromatic touch. You can substitute with other herbs like parsley or oregano if basil isn't available.
- Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs: Adds a nice crunch to the top of the stuffed zucchini. Regular breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers can be used.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a lovely umami flavor and helps bind the stuffing. If you're vegan or dairy-free, nutritional yeast is a great alternative, providing a similar cheesy flavor. If you are vegetarian, make sure you choose rennet-free parmesan.
Tips & Tricks
- Choose the Right Zucchini: Look for medium-sized zucchini that are relatively straight. This makes them easier to hollow out and stuff.
- Prep Your Quinoa: Rinse your quinoa under cold water before cooking. This removes its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy.
- Hollow with Care: When hollowing out your zucchini, be careful not to cut through the bottom or sides. You want to create a "boat" that will hold the stuffing without leaking.
- Season Generously: Don't forget to season the inside of your zucchini boats before adding the stuffing. This ensures every bite is flavorful.
- Don't Overcook: Keep an eye on your zucchini boats as they cook. You want the zucchini to be tender but still hold its shape.
- Get Creative with Toppings: Feel free to get creative with your toppings. Add cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs, or anything else that you fancy.
Crispy Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
- 4 zucchini about 3 pounds
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic rinsed
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 1 ½ cups tomato juice
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 to mato seeded and chopped
- ¼ cup basil sliced thin
- ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs see note
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese or 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 375. Cut zucchini lengthwise. Cut a thin slice lengthwise on the bottom of each zucchini so they sit flat. (A vegetable peeler works great for this.) With a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds and flesh from zucchini so that you have ¼ inch on all sides. (If you have a larger zucchini you may be able to save the flesh. If you can, feel free to stir it in when you add the tomatoes.)
- Spray a baking sheet and arrange the zucchini halves, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender. Turn oven to broil.
- Meanwhile, spray a saucepan well with oil. Add onion and cook for 8 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and quinoa and cook for 4 more minutes. Add tomato juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir in tomato and diced zucchini and cook covered for another 5 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in basil. Transfer mixture to zucchini boats.
- Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl and sprinkle over zucchini boats. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes, until lightly browned.