Summer is the time for lazy days at the lake, yard work – or harvesting tons of fresh veggies from the garden!
Here in Saskatchewan, this is the time of year that the zucchini go crazy.
Gardeners use every possible recipe to use up their excess and then start giving zucchini to their friends, family, neighbours, and maybe even complete strangers!
We all want to make sure the produce we have worked so hard to grow doesn’t go to waste.
So I’m here today to give you inspiration for one more yummy way you can use your zucchini – Zucchini Pizza Boats!
The great part about this recipe is that it is low carb, does great on the grill, and you can use other garden fresh veggies.
Just like with pizza, it is a flexible recipe that you can pick and choose which toppings you would like to use.
I like to start with a zucchini that is borderline too large because the skin will be a little tough, which makes the “boat” hold its shape on the grill better. Plus this gives you a larger hollow to add your sauce and toppings to!
Cut the zucchini in half long-wise and scoop out the soft, seedy part.
Don’t throw it out, though! We will use the insides in the sauce in a minute.
Next, heat a pan on medium heat and add some butter, a few cloves of garlic, and diced onion.
I personally like to add whole cloves of garlic; once they are nice and soft, I just smash them with my knife on the cutting board and give them a quick chop.
I find that method a lot quicker than mincing or grating the garlic raw.
Oh! And this is where the zucchini insides get added; toss it into your sauce, seeds and all.
Next, add diced tomato and some chopped oregano & basil.
I like a bit of heat to my food, so I add an entire cayenne pepper (either a fresh, chopped pepper or a crumbled, dehydrated pepper).
Then, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. This really makes the flavour pop!
And as expected, give the sauce a nice seasoning of salt & pepper.
Allow it to come to a simmer and cook the sauce down until it is no longer watery.
The more tomato you add, the more like a pizza sauce it will be.
Adding the zucchini insides, however, makes the sauce a bit different texture than normal pizza sauce, but hey – waste not, want not!
Once your sauce has cooked down to the desired consistency, scoop it into your zucchini boats.
Then you get to add your toppings!
I find that the toppings work best when they are added first and then the cheese added on top; when the cheese gets gooey, anything on top tends to try to slide off if the zucchini boat isn’t quite flat.
You can bake the zucchini boats at 350º for about 40 minutes (depending on their size, time will vary).
My favorite, however, is throwing them on the grill with a bit of smoke!
The flavour is amazing that way, plus if it is a hot day you aren’t heating up your house.
On a pre-heated grill, it typically takes about 40 minutes on low-to-medium heat to cook the zucchini boats.
NOTE: Be careful how high your flame is; you do not want to char the skin!
You can also use a pre-soaked wood plank to add flavour (and catch any gooey cheese that tries to drip off).
I like my Maple Grilling Plank better for this recipe than my Cedar Grilling Planks because it has a lighter flavour.
I like the zucchini to be soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, but not so soft that it is falling apart.
Some people may prefer their zucchini to be firmer so they are almost crunchy still.
That is completely up to you!
Once you remove the zucchini boat from the heat, allow it to cool for a couple minutes.
I promise this will become a fast favourite!
While zucchini is usually served as a side veggie, I like serving this dish as a main course – or even the entire meal because it is so filling!
1 large zucchini
1 large tomato
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Basil & oregano, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Cut the zucchini in half long-wise and scoop out the soft, seedy centre (reserve for later).
In a pan on medium heat, sauté garlic, diced onion, and diced tomato in butter.
Add zucchini insides along with balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, basil, and oregano.
If you want some heat, add cayenne pepper as well.
Salt & pepper to taste.
Simmer until the sauce has reduced to desired consistency.
Scoop sauce into zucchini boats, then add toppings and cheese.
Bake at 350º for about 40 minutes or grill on low-to-medium heat for about 40 minutes.
Cook time will vary depending on the size of zucchini and desired softness.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
What is your favourite zucchini recipe? Drop a comment below!