I often look to make meals that can incorporate a protein, vegetable and carb all in one. Some nights I'm not in the mood to come up with a main protein plus a couple of side dishes. These stuffed zucchini boats are the perfect week night dinner! This recipe calls for two zucchini, which will give you a lot of extra filling to mix with the orzo and create a base on your plate. You can easily add an extra zucchini or two without adding to the other ingredients. Serving size is 2-4 to allow for that, but also, in case you did want to do a side salad and just serve one boat per person this would still be a filling meal.
This dish is super flavorful, which is one of the reasons why I love it so much. It is also very adaptable. Trying to cut back on calories, or you don't eat pork? Not a problem, sustitute in turkey sausage. If you are looking for a gluten free option - you can use rice instead of orzo and gluten free panko instead of breadcrumbs. If you are dairy free you can simply leave off the Parmesan cheese at the end.
If you make this meal, don't forget to #greatkitchenescape and be sure to follow me on Instagram! Thanks for following along!~LC
As always, gather your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In addition to what you see in this picture, you will also need olive oil, Italian Herbs, salt and pepper. 99% of the time I have all of these ingredients already in my house without having to go to the store or plan in advance.
While your water is boiling for the orzo, prepare the onion, garlic and zucchini. Make sure that when you season the zucchini with Italian herbs, salt and pepper that you do both sides. Then place it cut side down to roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
Start to brown the sausage and break apart into small pieces. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium-high heat, then add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add in the diced tomatoes and 1/2 tsp Italian herbs, reduce heat to low-medium and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
Once the zucchini are done in the oven, remove and carefully turn over to fill with sausage mixture and top with breadcrumbs. Place back in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Add orzo to the remaining sausage mixture and cover to keep warm.
When the filled zucchini boats are done in the oven begin to plate. Start with a base of the orzo/sausage, then top with roasted zucchini boats. Grate fresh Parmesan over the top, and add some balsamic drizzle. Enjoy!
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
2 medium sized zucchini
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
½ large yellow onion
1 large garlic clove
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup orzo pasta, uncooked
¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ teaspoons Italian herbs, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
Balsamic glaze, to finish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice zucchini lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Using a pastry brush, brush all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs and salt and pepper on both sides. Bake, cut side down, on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet for 15 minutes.
2. Cut and dice onion. Mince garlic.
3. Start water to boil the orzo. Once boiling cook orzo per box instructions. Drain- you will use this in step 4. While waiting for water to boil, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a pan over medium-high heat. Begin to brown sausage, breaking apart as you do. Cook for 5 minutes, then add onion and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper, cook for 3 additional minutes. Reduce heat to medium/low, add diced tomatoes and ½ teaspoon of Italian herbs. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. When zucchini is done baking, gently turn over so the cut side is up, divide sausage mixture evenly through four boats. (There will be extra.) Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes. While this is baking, mix the cooked orzo in with the remaining sausage mixture- cover to keep warm. If needed, turn heat on low for a couple of minutes before filled boat is done in the oven.
5. Remove filled boats from the oven. Arrange the orzo mixture on the plate, top with zucchini boat. Grate fresh parmesan over the top, and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Alternative: Replace the orzo with gluten free pasta or rice. Substitute gluten free panko for Italian breadcrumbs.