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Jul. 20 2009 - 11:49 am | 57 views | 2 recommendations | 3 comments

Meatless Monday: How It Works; Plus: Ad Hoc Zucchini Boats

Photo by Kim O'Donnel

Photo by Kim O'Donnel

Every Monday since last September, I’ve been serving up a meatless recipe at A Mighty Appetite, my former blog home at The Washington Post.  The idea: take a break from meat once a week for both your health and the planet (one day out of seven equals 15 percent, not an insubstantial percentage), inspired by UN climate change expert Rajendra Pachauri and the Meatless Monday campaign, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.

The meat-less gravy train will continue in this space, featuring a new recipe –  always tested –  that helps put this idea into practice. For those just boarding the train, let me know what you’d like to see on the menu going forward.  Check out my archive of meatless recipes.

It’s around this time of year when you might find a bag of zucchini anonymously left at your front door (or if you’re not careful, in your car).  To say that the vined garden beauty is prolific is an understatement; “invasion” may be a better word to describe its annual harvest.

To that end, there’s no such thing as too many zucchini recipes, but today I’m offering one of the easiest, improvisational zuke tricks up my sleeve – zucchini halves hollowed out and  transformed into “boats.” The cargo is whatever you’ve got on hand in the larder — herbs, breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon, rice, in-season tomatoes, a sprinkling of cheese — and if you add a handful of canned garbanzos (which I highly recommend), your 30-minute dinner becomes a complete protein, too.

Ad Hoc Roasted Zucchini Boats
Estimate 1 medium zucchini per person, halved lengthwise
Approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
Filling fixins possibilities
1 small can of drained chickpeas
handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
½ cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ medium onion, finely chopped
¼ cup bread crumbs
grated Parmigiano, mozzarella or crumbled feta, for topping

Using a small spoon, scoop out pulp from each zucchini half and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Using a brush, lightly oil hollowed-out zucchini halves and place them on a baking tray.

Set oven to “broil” setting and cook zucchini for about five minutes — the idea is soften the zucchini before adding the filling.

Remove zucchini from heat and allow to cool slightly. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Using the zucchini pulp as the base, add any or all of the filling options listed above (or something else that inspires you), and season with salt and pepper to taste and remaining olive oil.

Spoon filling into each zucchini half and roast until fork tender, about 15 minutes. If using cheese, and it gets too bubbly, cover with foil.

Serve hot.


3 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Sounds great, reminds me of one of the easy dishes I love making, the sauteed zucchini and almonds from New York’s Red Cat.

  2. collapse expand

    All of the above ingredients, to which I would add mushrooms and pine nuts. My Italian grandmother used to do these with mushrooms, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, pine nuts, marinara sauce, a little olive oil drizzle, and topped with Locatelli romano cheese. Wow. L

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    About Me

    You might know me from The Washington Post, where for a dozen years I dished up cooking content, both as Web chat hostess ("What's Cooking") and daily blog minx ("A Mighty Appetite").

    To the table, I offer a stew of journalism (total = 16 years) and cooking smarts (a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education), served with a side of life-long curiosity.

    Home is Seattle for now, but until last year was parked on the east coast, born and raised outside of Philadelphia, where H20 is pronounced "wooder."

    In addition to the Post, I have written for Real Simple, Smithsonian.com and Culinate, where I host "Table Talk," a weekly chat every Thursday (1 pm ET/ 10a PT).

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