Happy New Year! My resolutions involve the usual goals to work out more, eat healthily, be grateful…I won’t bore you with the details. If your resolutions include anything to do with saving money or living a healthy lifestyle, you should definitely add zucchini boats to your arsenal of recipes.
They’re easy to make, don’t take very long, and the recipe can be adapted to include all kinds of different ingredients (read: excellent “garbage” recipe to plan to make Thursday or Friday with any leftovers from the week). I sound like a broken record, but I’ve honestly found that having these types of recipes in my back pocket keeps me from throwing food in the trash every week. I made these with ground turkey, but I’ve included some tips at the end for how to adapt the recipe to other ingredients.
Zucchini Boats – serves 4
1/2 pound ground turkey
2 large zucchini
6 oz non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 tsp Italian or Greek seasoning (or combo of dried parsley, basil, oregano…whatever you have on hand)
Salt and Pepper
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice your zucchini in half (long ways), and use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds, making your “boats.”
Step 2: Place zucchini halves- cut side up – on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for 25 minutes, or until they are soft, but not mushy.
Step 3: While the zucchini is roasting, saute garlic, onions and spices in a pan with a splash of olive oil for about 2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant. Add ground turkey, break it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until brown.
Step 4: Transfer turkey and veggie mixture into a mixing bowl and add in Greek yogurt and 1/2 of the shredded parmesan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix everything together until the yogurt is fully incorporated.
Step 5: Pull the zucchini boats out of the oven and stuff each one with 1/4 of the turkey mixture. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top. Put back in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes.
Step 6: Turn the oven to the broiler setting and broil for 2 minutes – this helps brown the cheese into a nice crust on top.
You can easily take out the main ingredients in this recipe and insert others that you may have on hand. Like a recipe ad lib, if you will. The zucchini can be replaced by squash or even large tomatoes and the turkey can be replaced by diced vegetables or another ground meat. The steps will stay the same, and the greek yogurt will still serve as a creamy and tangy binder to pull the dish together.
Non-fat Greek yogurt is an ingredient I always keep on hand. It’s super healthy – low in calories and packed with protein. It’s something of a culinary chameleon – you can throw in some berries, cinnamon and honey for a great breakfast option, use it as a substitute for mayonnaise in chicken salad, or swirl it into soups or chilis instead of sour cream. And my local Harris Teeter now carries 3 brands of Greek yogurt, one of them being their own brand, and usually one of the three is on sale.
So go forth into 2012, eat zucchini boats, and buy Greek yogurt – I’ll toast to that!