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It's Zucchini Time!

Posted 7/13/2016 8:03pm by Erin Caudell.

If you or your family ever had a garden in the backyard it probably had zucchini in it.  This cucumber look alike, also known as the courgette, is a summer squash that grows abundantly enough to feed an army.  Did anyone in your family make loaf after loaf of zucchini bread?  Have you tried the trendy new spaghetti made by spiraling zucchini?  And don’t forget the French favorite ratatouille.

This veggie not only tastes good but is for you too.  Zucchini is high in manganese and vitamin C.  You’ll find a wide spectrum of nutrients in it from vitamin A to potassium, and even folate.  All of this makes it a heart healthy food.  So if you’re cutting back on those carbs and missing red sauce, give this Stuffed Zucchini a try.

 

Stuffed Zucchini  


8-10 zucchini  

1 ½ c medium-grain rice

2 TB olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

~3 cloves garlic, minced

2 c peeled and diced tomatoes, with their juices (you can use fresh or canned)

3 oz tomato paste

1 tsp ground allspice

2 tsp salt, divided

¾ tsp ground black pepper, divided

2 bay leaves

¼ c chopped fresh parsley

1 lb ground beef, turkey or lamb (meat that is between 80-90% lean works well)

3 TB butter, melted

Fresh lemons, cut into wedges (for garnish)




Clean the zucchini and trim off the ends.  Cut each zucchini into 2 or 3 equal pieces; hollow out the insides.


In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until softened; add the garlic and sauté another minute.  Remove ¾ of the onion/garlic mixture and reserve in a separate bowl.  For the tomato broth, to the pot, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, bay leaves, fresh parsley, and enough water to fill the pot so that it is  2/3 full.  Heat the tomato broth over low heat until it comes to a simmer.


For the zucchini filling, mix together the reserved onion and garlic, raw ground meat, uncooked rice, melted butter, 1 ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and allspice.  Stuff each zucchini shell with the meat and rice mixture; leave a gap of ~¾” at the top of each zucchini because the rice will expand when cooking.


Add the stuffed zucchini to the simmering tomato broth and cook with the lid on for 60-75 minutes.  If the zucchini doesn’t all fit in the pot because there’s too much liquid, you take some out. Serve the zucchini garnished with fresh lemon, alongside the tomato broth.