Italian stuffed zucchini
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I used my free time these days to cook a lot of Italian food. And since I finally found a brand of vegan cheese that I like, it was really time to utilize it some more. In my last weeks gnocchi recipe I also mentioned that I fell in love with vegan Italian stuffed zucchini, and I think it is about time I write it down.
In the past few weeks I made this recipe a dozen times, and I still can’t get enough of it. All the ingredients are cheap (except the vegan cheese, but I can live with that) and most of them were already sitting in my kitchen. I use every opportunity to put rice vinegar in a dish since I want to find multiple ways to use it (not just when I make sushi once a year), and this was one of those times.
These Italian stuffed zucchini are vegan, healthy, cheesy and very delicious. I have never tried stuffed zucchini before this, and now I see that I was missing out on a lot. Soon I’ll try to make them with different ingredients. I already mentioned that this dish is very healthy, so here are a few reasons as to why.
Some health benefits
There are some healthy ingredients in these stuffed zucchini that you don’t want to miss out on. For one, the zucchini itself.
It is high in the antioxidant vitamin C. Research indicates that the skin of the plant harbors the highest levels of antioxidants. Its ample vitamin A content may support your immune system. Carotenoids, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene are particularly plentiful in zucchini. These may benefit your eyes, skin, and heart, as well as offer some protection against certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.
Overall, it contributes to healthy digestion, may reduce blood sugar levels, improve heart health, and aid weight loss. It also may have anticancer effects, improve thyroid function and research (on animal models) shows that seed extracts may help limit prostatic hyperplasia.
A lot of zucchini nutrients are in the zucchini skin, which we are not going to peel off for this recipe. These are only a few reasons you might want to treat yourself with these Italian stuffed zucchini from time to time.
There are allso some pretty great facts about the filling ingredients, but since the zucchini takes up the majority of this dish, I tought I leave those for another time.
A piece of advice
When I first decided to do this, I tought it would be super difficult and time consuming to scoop out the zucchini flesh from the middle. To my surprise, I found it to be rather relaxing and satisfying. First you cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then you trace the part you want to cut out with a knife.
It is pretty easy to trace, since the inside of a zucchini looks like someone already drew a line for you to do that (that’s at least what I noticed in mine). Then you take a teaspoon and scoop out all of the zucchini flesh and set it aside for later (do not throw it away).
In the photo below you can see how I did it. Be careful not to pierce your zucchini with a knife or spoon and make sure that the edges of the hole are closed so the filling won’t pour out while you are baking them.
Another thing I would suggest is to use medium sized zucchini. If you are using larger ones, make sure you prepare more stuffing for it. Check the oven from time to time just in case, to check the progress, you should be able to poke it with a fork when it’s done. You can prolong the baking time for about five minutes if needed.
1 red bell pepper
1 can of chickpeas
200 g of vegan mozzarella
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of tomato paste
5 tbsp of plant based milk
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1/3 tsp of chili powder
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
½ tbsp of oil
Wash both zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise, so you have 4 pieces. Trace the midle part that you want to scoop out with a knife. Scoop out the inner part with a teaspoon (see the picture above).
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan (medium heat) and add the chopped onion. Fry it for a few minutes. Add chopped bell pepper, zucchini meat that you scooped out, tomato paste, soy sauce, plant based milk, rice vinegar and every spice on the list.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes (check the mix from time to time and stir). Drain the water from a can of chickpeas and add them to the pan. Cook for another few minutes.
Stuff every zucchini with this mixture. Grate the vegan mozzarella and cover the top of zucchini with it. Put baking paper in a baking tray and place the stuffed zucchini in it. Heat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius and bake the zucchini for about 20 minutes.
Let them cool down for a bit and serve while warm.
If you liked this recipe, make sure you check out my other recipes like:
Feel free to tell me what you think about this in the comments below, or send me the pictures of your own Italian stuffed zucchini. If you did something differently, I would also like to hear that, I’d love to see the things you come up with.
P.S. for more recipes like this and bunch of other stuff, follow me on instagram, @margo_drobi.
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