Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIAW: Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini

I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I told you that we had eaten chili with every meal since Trevor returned home from New Mexico. This has meant heuvos rancheros, green chili chicken enchiladas, homemade salsa, vegan and gluten-free green chile cornbread, and green chili chicken corn chowder. (I know, I know. I should’ve photographed the southwestern food feast but I was too busy drinking Gruet to cool my overly spicy mouth). While I love all things involving chile, avocados, and corn tortillas, even I have reached my breaking point on the chile... though I suppose you could say that those three things have become summer staples around here.

I even snuck away from the house today to buy a Snickers bar and eat it in peace.

But, back to the point of this story. In Montana, zucchinis are in season and after an evening sitting on the new deck of our good friends’ house, Michelle sent us home with one grown from her dads garden (That sounds familiar, huh?). Today, while out sneaking in a Snickers bar, I figured I should buy something at the store other than Diet Dr. Pepper and candy so I grabbed some sausage and tomatoes thinking that I would finally conquer stuffed zucchini. After all, we had brown rice cous cous, tomato sauce, italian blend cheese, parmesan, oregano, fresh garlic, and white onions at the house already.

Well. That was the plan before Trevor hijacked dinner.

Instead of my cheesy italian style dinner, we ended up with another meal thoroughly soaked in homemade red chili sauce. It was delicious so I’m trying not to complain but even this obsessive eater is ready for a little variety.

But, since it was both delicious and beautiful, I thought I would switch it up for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday and share with you the recipe that we had for dinner tonight (and the recipe for the homemade salsa we used).

Salsa Ingredients:
2 avocados, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 1/2 cups of corn (you can use canned, frozen or off the cob)
1 can of black beans (freshly prepared or canned)
1/3 cup of Hatch green chile (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Lime
Fresh Cilantro

Mix the above ingredients and toss in the juice of one lime until everything is evenly coated. Then, you’ll want to add salt, pepper, cilantro and cumin to taste. We love ours with a lot of kick from the cumin but that’s up to you! The longer this salsa sits, the better it tastes - but make sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap because of the avocado browning. We’ve used this with our enchiladas, in breakfast burritos, with tortilla chips and finally, in the stuffed zucchini. It’s versatile and chunky with a bit of sweetness and cool flavor from the corn.

Needless to say, the salsa is mostly allergy friendly (feel free to drop the corn) and vegan!

As for that zucchini...

You’ll need:
1 large or 2 small zucchini
2 cups of cooked cous cous, rice or quinoa (like I said, we used a gluten free brown rice cous cous)
1/2 pound of sausage (feel free to substitute chicken, steak or leave it out for a vegetarian dish)
1/4 of a white onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups of salsa
1 cup of red chili sauce (we made ours homemade but feel free to use enchilada sauce if red chili isn’t available)
Shredded cheese
Olive Oil

To make:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the zucchini down the center and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. (See top photo.)
Coat the zucchini with olive oil and aggressively season it with salt and pepper.
Wrap the zucchini tightly in foil and place in the oven on a baking sheet.

The zucchini should be ready to stuff in approximately forty minutes so while it bakes:

Prepare the cous cous or rice if you haven’t already.
Sautee the sausage, onions, garlic and tomato.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage mixture with the cous cous, salsa and sauce.

When the zucchini is tender, take it out of the oven and fill it with this mixture. Top with shredded cheese of your choice and bake until the cheese is melted and browned on the top. Sprinkle with black pepper, allow to cool and slice into sections to serve. 

How was it?
Despite my frustration at my dinner plans being thrown out in favor of a spicier version, this turned out to be a really great filling summer recipe plus, it’s very healthy! If you use a gluten-free grain, the recipe is wheat free. Without meat or cheese, it’s also vegan (but check your enchilada sauce!) and I’m sure it would be just as delicious! Our friend Michele can no longer eat eggs, wheat or milk and so making allergy friendly recipes has become even more important. As you can see, this recipe is obviously an easy way to please those with and without food restrictions and still remains robust and zesty. Plus, it’s pretty healthy. Overall, we were really happy with the way it turned out and thankful that we have more than half of our prepared zucchini left.. plus a cup or two of filling. We’re thinking stuffed peppers are in order.

So while it might not be much, that’s what we ate this Wednesday.
How about you? Are you a fan of spicy food or southwestern cuisine?


  1. stuffed zucchini! We make that at home all the time when it is in season. We always have it "Italian" style, I'd love to try this!
    p.s. bohoo he made you dinner. You're so mistreated! Okay I'm done picking on you for today Miss Jennifer!

    1. Hahaha. I know, I know - I shouldn’t complain but sometimes I want to make dinner myself and he just waltzes in with his fancy culinary degree and his Hatch chile and changes my plans! It’s definitely worth a try - I’m still waiting to have an italian style stuffed zuchini. Hmph.

  2. Ooooh, looks delicious! And potentially vegan friendly :)

    1. Other than our addition of cheese and sausage..? Definitely! I honestly don’t think it would taste much different without those two things - or you could use a soy based cheese!