When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to August. Not for the obvious return to school, but for the zucchini harvest. In my house that meant days of shredding and freezing zucchini, treats like zucchini cookies (mmm- I may have to work on a gf version of those!) zucchini bread, and of course, baked stuffed zucchini. That was a favorite meal reserved for those ‘clunkers’ which invariably hid under a large leaf and got away from us. In fact, I actually made baked stuffed zucchini the night my husband proposed to me…. I think it was the zucchini that put him over the top! This recipe takes the idea of baked stuffed zucchini and simplifies it- you get all the delicious flavors, but it takes 1/2 as long. My kind of cooking. It’s also good with eggplant. Next time you’re at your local farmer’s market or CSA pick-up, grab some of those great summer veggies and enjoy!
Baked Zucchini & Tomato Cilantro Quinoa
serves 4- depending on the size of the zucchini
1 medium zucchini
1 small jar of tomato sauce- your choice of flavor
1 cup shredded parmesan (any cheese will do if you’re in a pinch)
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 red onion
1-2 chopped tomatoes
4 tbs freshly chopped cilantro
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the zucchini in 1/2 lengthwise, then widthwise so that you have 4 long sections that are flat on one side and rounded (skin side) on the other. Lightly brush with olive oil and place in an oven proof dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the onion and place in a small bowl. Add the sugar and juice from 1/2 the lime. Stir and let sit. The onion should be mostly covered by the lime juice. Use the rest of the lime if you need. The combination of sugar and acid is working to ‘pickle’ the onion.
Place quinoa and water in a pan on the stove. Turn heat to medium and cover. When the lid jiggles- just as the water starts to boil- turn the heat down to low and leave covered. Quinoa will be ready in about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered.
After the zucchini has cooked for 30 minutes, remove from the oven. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Pour tomato sauce over the zucchini pieces and cover with cheese. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is bubbly- about another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop tomatoes and cilantro and add to the quinoa. Toss, then add the onion. Toss again. Serve next to the zucchini. For a complete vegetarian meal, serve with 6 1/2 minute kale.