Ever since making our Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, we have been wanting to try our hand at making stuffed zucchini. There are tons of recipes out there for these and after reviewing some of the recipes that we found on various blogs/websites, we came up with our own version of this culinary masterpiece. The toasted whole wheat bread crumbs and quinoa in this recipe give this dish a great texture. Additionally, the parsley, basil, and red pepper flakes add a lot of flavor to this dish…and the cheese…well cheese just makes everything better, doesn’t it?
Before getting into the recipe…lets discuss what this quinoa thing we speak of is all about…
While quinoa is considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice/barley/etc. It is native to South America. The taste and texture of quinoa is a bit like brown rice crossed with oatmeal. It’s fluffy, creamy, crunchy and somewhat nutty, all rolled into one.
1 C of quinoa provides you with ~ 127 calories, 2 grams of fat, 23.4 grams of carbohydrates (2 of those being fibre), and 4.5 grams of protein. It has a pretty similar nutritional profile to that of brown rice,
except it’s slightly higher in overall protein content.
Quinoa is perfect for active individuals. High Carb, a good source of proteins…perfect for maintaining energy. Quinoa is a Complete source of protein which is unlike most grains, which contain an incomplete source of protein. Quinoa, on the other hand, provides the full spectrum of nine essential amino acids.
Quinoa is also a Great for cardiovascular health. Quinoa is especially high in is magnesium, which is important for maintaining good cardiovascular health.Magnesium helps to relax the blood vessels, reducing the rates of hypertension, heart disease, or heart arrhythmias.
Quinoa also Provides antioxidant support. Regular intake of antioxidants is so important for
warding off the damaging effects of free radicals, which we encounter on a daily basis.Quinoa does a wonderful job of boosting your antioxidant levels — being high in both manganese and copper, which help to promote a healthy immune system, and ensure that red blood cells remain in top condition.
Okay- so now that you know what Quinoa is… you must make this dish! It is DELICIOUS….really, it is. And it is quick to prepare and fun to eat. There is not one thing we would change about this recipe. You can have this as a light meal, serve one as an appetizer, or enjoy it with a salad! Whatever way you do it, you will not be disappointed.
**NOTE** This recipe is for 2 LARGE zucchini (4 halves). There will be plenty of leftover “stuffing”. Perfect for lunch the next day!
- 2 Large (very large) zucchini. (if you cant find large enough zucchini just buy 4 small ones)
- 3 T Olive Oil
- 5 garlic coves (crush one, finely chop the others)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)- drain and reserve the juice
- ~1/4 tsp salt (add more to taste if need be)
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- glug of dry white wine
- 3/4 C WW breadcrumbs
- 1/2 C of high quality grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/4 C parsley, chopped
- ~ 10 basil leaves, torn
- 2/3 C quinoa (cook based upon package directions)
- baby spinach (good amount because it wilts once cooked and gets very small )
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Halve the zucchini and hollow out the centers with a spoon (keep the “flesh”!). Drizzle the zucchini with olive oil and place in the oven.
- Meanwhile- cook the quinoa in a small pot according to package directions.
- Chop the zucchini “flesh”
- Heat 2 T Olive Oil over medium-high heat and add the crushed garlic clove, red pepper flakes, onion, and zucchini. cook until the zucchini begins to caramelize a bit (should only be about 5 minutes) add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, add the white wine.
- Allow the wine to evaporate and stir in the reserved tomato juice. Reduce heat and let the juice slowly cook off.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add 1 T olive oil and butter. Once the butter starts to melt, add chopped garlic and allow it to cook for 2-3 min. Add the breadcrumbs and allow them to toast (2 min). Add cheese, parsley, fresh pepper (lots!) and remove from heat.
- Once the liquid is pretty much out of the stuffing, add the breadcrumb mixture, spinach, quinoa, and basil. remove from heat.
- Remove the zucchini from the oven and fill each one with the stuffing. Place back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes to crisp the breadcrumbs.
Question: Do you have any “stuffed” recipes (does not have to use zucchini) such as this one? If so, what is it?