I think vegetables reach their full potential when they are stuffed.

Holler if you hear me.

Check out this massive zucchini I got at the grocery store- thanks pesticides!

If you are a gardener, zucchini is one of those fruits that does well. So well, that many folks end up with a plethora of these bad boys throughout the summer.

Here is a zucchini fun fact: zucchini is actually an immature fruit (not vegetable), being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?

In this culinary context, zucchini is a vegetable.

And I don’t care what you say about that.

Preheat your oven to 425.

Anywho, start by chopping off the head and tail of this zucchini.

Then take off a little tiny sliver of the side of the vegetable, so that it will lay flat to be stuffed and to bake.

Slice her open.

And scrape out her guts.

Give the hollowed out inside a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Pop those into the oven- either straight on to the rack or onto a small sheet pan- while you prepare the stuffing.

The zucchini needs to cook for 15-25 minutes. The time varies by the size of the zucchini. The zucchini I had was about 10 inches long and it took a total of 20 minutes to cook (about 10 without the filling and 10 with the filling).

Pull out a non-stick pan.

Put it over a burner on medium-high heat.

And add in some olive oil.

Once the olive oil is heated, toss in some onion. For one large zucchini (serving 2 people), use 1/4 of a white, yellow or red onion.

Or if you are feeling crazy, like I clearly was, you can use 3 small shallots.

To the shallots or onions, add two finely diced or crushed cloves of garlic.

If you are ever invited to a Pampered Chef party, invest in a garlic crusher (seen below). Pampered Chef makes the best version out there (believe me… I have tried a few), and it keeps you and your hands from smelling like a hoagie for the next day.

I consider the garlic to be cooked when the aroma fills the kitchen.

DO NOT overcook the garlic. You know it is overcooked if it starts to turn brown. Overcooked garlic tastes really bitter and is nasty.

To the onion and garlic, add some chopped tomato.

I used two medium sized vine-ripened tomatoes for my zucchini.

Keep the tomato in the pan for about 2 minutes. That is long enough to warm the tomatoes through, and it is long enough that some of those extra tomato juices evaporate away.

After 2-3 minutes, add in 1 T. of vinegar. I prefer balsamic.

Side note: I hope you know this, but when I use a lowercase t. – that means teaspoon. And when I use an uppercase T.- that means tablespoon. I probably should have clarified that about a year ago. Oopsie.

Stir it all around, and let those flavors get to know one another.

Now, grab your preheated zucchinis and place them on a small foil-lined sheet pan.

Hmmmmm….. looks like something is missing.

What could it be?

What could it be?

Oh yes.

Cheese, of course!

Get creative here. I popped on some goat cheese because goat cheese makes my life.

But you could use mozzarella, parmesan, or even pepper jack. Maybe I would shy away from cheddar, but mostly I don’t think you could go wrong here with any cheese choice.

Since my zucchini had already cooked 10 of the 20 minutes, I threw these guys back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

I should mention that these guys also taste awesome on a grill. Especially a charcoal, smoky grill.

I love grillin’ season.

After the last 10 minutes of baking time, the zucchini came out looking like this.

And yes, they taste as good as they look.

And they taste like summer!

I hope everyone is having the most wonderful week.

XO,
Leah

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