It’s the time of year when everyone is looking for new and different ways to use up zucchini. You can spiralize it into curry bowls, shred it into fritters, and do the classic zucchini chip trick, but one of my favorite ways to use zucchini is to stuff it. Like in this vegetarian Pizza-Stuffed Zucchini recipe!
When it comes to stuffed zucchini, it’s really hard to go wrong–it’s fun to experiment with different fillings because zucchini is a nice blank slate that goes with so many different ingredients.
The one rule I have? Don’t boil the zucchini!
Growing up, that’s how my mom made stuffed zucchini; she’d halve the squash lengthwise, boil it in a big pot of water, and then scoop the seeds out of the limp, watery zucchini boats. Unnecessary! The time the zucchini spends in the oven is enough to soften it up without rendering it into mush.
I like this vegetarian Pizza-Stuffed Zucchini because it’s the kind of recipe that everyone in the family (read: the kids) will love. Instead of meat, quinoa is the stuffing here; it’s stirred with tomato sauce and pizza seasonings, then once it’s scooped into the zucchini boats, you top the whole thing with cheese.
Because I can never resist giving some ideas for switching things up: white beans can be added for extra protein or try crumbled sausage or Upton’s Italian seitan for a sausage pizza theme. If you can get your hands on vegan pepperoni, that’s a good topping too! Up the veggie factor by adding sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or bell peppers. Basically, anything you like on a pizza, you can stuff into this zucchini recipe.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Pizza Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa rinsed
- 4 medium zucchini halved lengthwise
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Place the quinoa and 1 1/2 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and most of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let the quinoa sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain any excess liquid.
While the quinoa is cooking, scoop the seeds out of the zucchini and discard them. Place the zucchini halves in a large baking dish that's been coated with oil or cooking spray.
Stir the tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, onion powder, and pepper flakes into the quinoa. Season with salt to taste.
Divide the quinoa mixture into the zucchini halves, then top with the cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is just beginning to brown. Garnish with additional fresh basil and serve.