I had a glorious garden at our old house.
We moved into the house in late April and immediately left for a 10-day family vacation that had been planned for months and months. So we basically said goodbye to a house full of boxes. And the beautiful plant my best friend brought us as a house-warming gift that may have died during our trip. Oops.
But, the backyard had a large, perfect spot for a garden and I was so eager to plant some veggies that we came back from our trip and immediately dug up a huge plot for a garden. Not easy work in the clay soil that is our area of North Carolina.
But how I loved that garden! Particularly 1. Before I had my babies and had to plant, water and weed with either a very large pregnant belly and/or an infant strapped to me. (Though who am I kidding? I miss those very early days!)
Also loved it so when, 2. We got raised beds. Sadly, I had only one growing season with those amazing raised beds before we decided to move. But I loved them. M loved them, too. She would walk in and around the boxes and check all of our veggies. I loved seeing her delight at discovering a new sprout, a new pepper starting to form, a new tomato to track.
Our new house is unbelievably fabulous and everything I wanted. Except for my gardening options. I’ve forced a garden against the house in the backyard in what appears to be my best option for good sun. We’ll see how this experiment goes, but it’ll never be my massive expanse of beautiful raised beds.
In the meantime, I no longer grow zucchini. Which is a plus because I inevitably missed an enormous zucchini hiding underneath those big leaves. I’d pull up a 2-foot-long zucchini and bring it in the house, telling hubby, “I found a baseball bat in the garden.” He’d always say, “You could kill a man with that thing.” Hehe, ’twas true.
No hiding zucchinis now. Just store-bought and farmer’s market goodies that I can feast on. Regardless, a stuffed zucchini is a great way to use extras or particularly large veggies that may have escaped your notice. You scoop out the insides and use the rest as a vessel.
I love putting quinoa and hummus together (and so does J, who has piled this in since he was a wee babe. How cool is he?!) and it’s particularly tasty stuffed into a zucchini and topped with red peppers and Parmesan cheese. These stuffed zucchini make an amazing side to anything grilled. You could also make them a vegetarian main dish – I’d probably add some toasted pine nuts to bulk it up.
Whether it was purchased or discovered in your garden, get some zucchini in your life for these tasty little boats.
- 3 zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 2/3 cups water
- 1 cup original hummus (homemade or store bought)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350. Place zucchini halves (cut side up) in a large pan. Pour about 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pan.
- Bake zucchini halves for 20 minutes (25 minutes if they are large), until tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Once cooked, measure out 1 cup of cooked quinoa and add to a large bowl. Add hummus to the cooked quinoa and mix well.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat a small pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the diced red peppers and saute 5-7 minutes, until tender. Don't worry if it picks up char marks - looks and tastes great!
- Once the zucchini is ready, remove the pan from the oven. Carefully scrape out the insides of the zucchini halves, leaving a hull. (Discard the zucchini mix.) Sprinkle the insides of the zucchini boats with salt and pepper.
- Add quinoa-hummus mixture to the middle of each boat, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle with the red peppers and Parmesan.
- Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Or you can broil it for 2-3 minutes (but watch closely so it doesn't burn).
- Sprinkle with extra Parmesan, salt and pepper, and serve!
Variations: You could use roasted red peppers instead of the sautéed red pepper. You could also use roasted red pepper or garlic hummus or another flavored hummus.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 331mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
** Do you have a garden? If so, what’s your favorite thing to grow? If not, what one thing would you love to be able to grow?