Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lasagna Zucchini Boats

Oh yum! These were delicious and easy to throw together. The original recipe calls for ground beef. Since I'm a vegetarian, I used sauteed mushrooms instead. Perfect substitute!

I found the recipe on the blog Cooking Classy. Here is the recipe with my substitutes in bold italics:

  • 4 medium zucchini (2 1/2 lbs), sliced into halves through the length*
  • 1 cup (8.6 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz 93% lean ground beef or lean ground turkey**
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup roasted garlic marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  •  **8 oz baby bello mushrooms, if you would like to substitute mushrooms for the beef to make this meal vegetarian
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon <I use a grapefruit spoon because it has little ridges on it that help scoop>, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. Set aside. <If you are making this meal vegetarian like I did, save aside 1/2 cup of the scooped out zucchini. Chop the zucchini>

In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg and 1 1/2 Tbsp of the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble beef into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned (there shouldn't be any excess fat but if you happened to use a fattier beef then just drain excess rendered fat). Stir in 1/4 cup marinara sauce and 1 Tbsp of the basil, remove from heat.

***<To make this vegetarian, chop the baby bello mushrooms. Melt 1 Tbl butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms to the skillet and saute for 8 minutes until golden brown. Add the 1/2 cup chopped zucchini to the skillet and saute for another 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup marinara sauce and 1 Tbl of the basil. Set this mixture aside.>

To assemble boats, brush both sides of of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in two baking pans (I used a 13 by 9 and a 9 by 9). Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into and even layer.

Divide beef mixture <or mushroom mixture> among zucchini. Top with evenly with remaining marinara sauce.

Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops with with fresh basil and parsley and serve warm.

*Look for zucchini that is wider and more uniform in width. The skinnier zucchini won't fit much filling.

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