Welcome to this fantastic vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini recipe! As a vegan chef, I understand the importance of having delicious and healthy meals that fit a plant-based diet. This recipe is perfect for those who are looking for something new, packed with flavor and textures, and easy to prepare in your own kitchen. Not only is this recipe vegetarian-friendly, but it is also gluten-free.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from the traditional Greek way of preparing stuffed vegetables. Instead of the typical meat filling, we use a combination of cooked brown rice, walnuts, currants, and feta cheese. Fresh oregano leaves give this dish a warm and earthy flavor profile, which pairs perfectly with the acidity of fresh lemon juice.
Not only do these stuffed zucchini boats look impressive when presented on a plate, but they are also incredibly practical as a one-dish meal. With minimal prep time required, you can whip up this dish any night of the week.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on making this delicious Mediterranean-inspired dish that will transport your taste buds straight to Greece!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you looking for a vegetarian dish that’s bursting with flavor? Look no further than this Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Zucchini Recipe!
Not only is it packed with delicious ingredients like feta cheese, garlic, and oregano leaves, but it’s also a healthy option that will leave you feeling satisfied. This recipe calls for cooked brown rice, making it not only gluten-free, but also high in fiber and essential nutrients.
But what really sets this dish apart is its versatility. You can easily substitute or add in ingredients based on your personal taste preferences. For example, try swapping the feta cheese for a vegan cheese alternative or adding in some chopped walnuts for an extra crunch.
And let’s not forget about the presentation – this recipe uses zucchini boats as the base for the stuffing, creating a visually stunning and unique dish that’s sure to impress your dinner guests.
So whether you’re a die-hard vegetarian or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Zucchini recipe is sure to please.
The key ingredients for this Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Zucchini Recipe are medium zucchinis, cooked brown rice, feta cheese, and olive oil. Other ingredients include fresh lemon juice, currants or raisins, walnuts, and dried oregano, which add an extra layer of flavor to the dish. You will also need garlic, onion, dry sherry, ground cinnamon, and fresh oregano leaves to incorporate savory elements into the mix. Additionally, you will need tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and extra virgin olive oil to make the zucchini boats tomato feta topping. These ingredients come together to create a hearty vegetarian meal that showcases a combination of traditional Greek flavors packed into healthy zucchini boats!
The Recipe How-To
Let’s get started with the recipe! Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to make the Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Zucchini.
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup currants or raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 can of tomatoes with juice (14.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Step 2: Cut off both ends of each zucchinis.Halve the zucchinis lengthwise.
Step 3: Remove the flesh from inside each piece, leaving about a half-inch-thick shell. Reserve the flesh for another time.
Step4: In a skillet over medium heat, put in two tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add chopped onion, and cook until softened for about four minutes.Next, add garlic , cinnamon , and fresh oregano leaves to the skillet, cook for another minute stirring constantly.
Step5:Stir in the canned tomatoes along with their juices and include tomato paste, brown rice, currants, and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper.
Step6: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave it simmering for ten minutes until it thickens.
Step7: Stuff each zucchini boat with the mixture.Add about three tablespoons of filling to each zucchini half.Place them on baking dish lined with parchment paper or lightly greased.
Step8: Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the zucchini is cooked through, and fork-tender in texture.Top with crumbled feta cheese if desired.Serve warm, garnished with some fresh herbs if you like.Enjoy your vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini!
Substitutions and Variations
Are you looking for ways to customize your vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini recipe? Here are some substitutions and variations that will give you new flavors and textures.
– **Cheese:** Feta cheese is a classic ingredient in this recipe, but you can experiment with different kinds of cheese. Try using goat cheese or ricotta for a creamier texture, or use vegan cheese for a dairy-free version.
– **Rice:** Brown rice is a healthy and filling ingredient in this recipe, but you can also use other grains like quinoa, bulgur or couscous. If you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure to choose gluten-free grains.
– **Nuts and Dried Fruit:** The original recipe includes currants, raisins and walnuts for sweetness and crunch. You can substitute them with other nuts and dried fruit like almonds, pistachios, apricots or dates for a different flavor.
– **Herbs:** Oregano is a key herb in Greek cuisine, but if you don’t have fresh oregano leaves, you can use dried oregano instead. You can also add other herbs like basil, parsley or cilantro to enhance the flavor.
– **Tomato Sauce:** The tomato sauce adds tanginess to the dish. If you want to make your own tomato sauce from scratch, you can roast fresh tomatoes with garlic and onion until they are soft and blend them with extra virgin olive oil. You can also use canned diced tomatoes with juice for convenience.
– **Zucchini Boats:** If you don’t have medium zucchini, you can use large zucchini and cut them into halves or quarters to make smaller boats. Alternatively, you can stuff other vegetables like bell peppers, eggplants or squash blossoms for a Middle Eastern twist.
Experimenting with these substitutions and variations will take your vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini recipe to the next level. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own!
Serving and Pairing
This delectable vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini recipe is a perfect main entree plate that you can garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges to give it an authentic Mediterranean touch. It is ideal for serving at dinner or lunch with your family or friends. You can pair it with some steamed veggies, a salad, or some freshly baked bread on the side.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can serve this dish as a side to grilled lamb kebabs or roasted chicken for even more flavor and protein. The combination of savory meat and zesty zucchini filling will tantalize your taste buds in every bite.
In addition, a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay would be an excellent choice to accompany this dish. The acidity level of the wine would perfectly match the tangy and salty flavors of the feta cheese used in the recipe. On the other hand, if you prefer red wines, you may opt for a light-bodied Pinot Noir or a medium-bodied Merlot as they won’t overpower the subtle flavors of this dish.
For an alternative pairing option try serving this dish with a glass of home-made iced tea or lemonade. The acidic nature of these drinks will help cut through the richness of the stuffing; while providing a refreshing accompaniment to balance out the salty and sweet flavors.
Overall, this veggie-packed recipe makes for an excellent well-rounded meal – packed full of nutrition and flavor – sure to keep everyone around the table happy!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about this vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini recipe is that you can make it ahead of time! This makes it perfect for busy weeknights or entertaining guests. My recommendation is to make the stuffed zucchini boats, and then store them in the refrigerator.
To store, place them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When it’s time to reheat, I suggest popping them in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the microwave if you’re short on time, but I think the oven method gets them nice and crispy again.
If you’re planning to freeze your stuffed zucchini boats, I recommend doing so before baking them in the oven. You can prepare your recipe as usual, then wrap each boat individually with plastic wrap before storing them together in a freezer-friendly container. To reheat later, simply thaw the boats overnight in the refrigerator and then bake as directed.
Finally, one great tip for keeping your stuffed zucchini fresh during storage is to spoon out any extra water that may accumulate on top before reheating. This will ensure that your dish remains flavorful and doesn’t get soggy during reheating.
Overall, this recipe is quite versatile and easy to prepare ahead of time. Whether you plan to store leftovers or prepare meals for several days, these vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchinis make a delicious main course that’ll have everyone asking for seconds!
Tips for Perfect Results
Ensuring that your stuffed zucchinis turn out delicious may seem intimidating, but fear not! As an experienced assistant for a vegan chef, I’ve got some tips and tricks that will make this recipe easy and enjoyable to prepare.
First off, when it comes to the filling mixture, be sure to chop all of the ingredients finely so that they cook evenly and compactly fit into the zucchini boats. This will give a cohesive taste to every bite.
Furthermore, the dish hinges on having just enough liquid in order for the rice to perfectly cook in the oven—too much and you’ll end up with soggy zucchinis; too little and the filling may come out dry. To avoid this situation, make sure not to overcook your sauce. After it thickens, turn off heat after around 25 minutes then continue by adding in the cooked rice afterwards.
Finally, if you have leftover filling mixture, consider using it for another recipe. You can stuff it into tomatoes or peppers for an additional meal prep opportunity or even toss it with quinoa or pasta as a unique source of protein. Don’t let any of this Mediterranean-styled ingredient go to waste!
Follow these tips along with the recipe’s directions for preparing your stuffed zucchinis and we guarantee you’ll be pleased with your finished product–a hearty vegetarian dish perfect for any summer evening!
In conclusion, this vegetarian Greek stuffed zucchini recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves Greek cuisine or simply wants to enjoy a delicious and healthy meal. With an array of flavorful ingredients such as feta cheese, oregano leaves, and walnuts, this dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Plus, with various substitutions and variations available, you can make it your own and experiment with new flavors.
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, meal prepping for the week or simply looking to add some variety to your menu, these stuffed zucchini boats are perfect for any occasion. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list or detailed instructions – with a few helpful tips and techniques, you’ll be able to create a masterpiece in no time.
So go ahead, give this recipe a try and savor the taste of Greece in the comfort of your own home. You’ll love how easy it is to prepare and how wonderful it tastes. Happy cooking!
Vegetarian Greek Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
- 2 zucchini (10 inches long)
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
Cinnamon Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes with juice (28 oz. can)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 -4 tablespoon dry sherry
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup currants or 1/4 cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs (optional)
- 1 dash olive oil (optional)
- grated feta cheese
- fresh oregano leaves (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375*F.
- Lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise.
- With a paring knife, score the flesh about 1/2 inch deep.
- Place the cut sides down on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with the sherry and cover with foil.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until yielding but still firm.
- While the zucchini bakes, make the sauce.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and garlic, and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
- Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, and sherry.
- Then bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and set aside.
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare the filling.
- Saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
- In a bowl, combine the sauteed onions with the walnuts, feta, currants, and lemon juice.
- Stir in the rice.
- When the zucchini is tender, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a thin 1/4 inch shell.
- Chop the flesh and add it to the filling.
- Mound the filling in the shells and sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs and olive oil, if desired.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- To serve, ladle some of the tomato sauce onto each plate.
- Place a stuffed zucchini on the sauce and top with grated feta.
- Garnish with oregano leaves, if you wish.
Add Your Own Notes
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.