Stuffed Zucchini with Italian Sausage

by formerchef on August 11, 2009

Post image for Stuffed Zucchini with Italian Sausage

I have another confession.
I don’t love vegetables. Odd, because I have a garden, right? I like them enough, some more than others, but I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian. And zucchini? Well, let’s just say I’m learning to love it.

But I have this garden, into which I’ve put a lot of time, effort, and expense, and I should probably eat what I’m growing, don’t you think? In general, I only grow what I like and when it comes to zucchini, I think I’ve always liked it as an ingredient more than the focus of the meal.
But my zucchini plant has a way of getting the last laugh on me. Not only has it been generous in its gifts to me, a few of its fruits have hidden themselves among the leaves until they just got too big not to be noticed. I ended up with more than a few 2-3 lb specimens.
What to do with these monster squash?
I could have made zucchini bread, but that wouldn’t have solved the issue of what to do with all the other vegetables in my garden. And because this girl cannot live on veggies alone, I had to add in some tasty pork product.

Stuffed Zucchini with Italian Sausage
Click here for printable recipe

1 large zucchini (2-3 lbs) plus 1/2 cup diced (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced bell peppers (I used red and yellow ones)
1/2 cup eggplant, diced
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz Italian Sausage, removed from casings (use the spicy ones for a kick)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
fresh basil, 2 Tbsp chiffonade (sliced) and 2 Tbsp for garnish

***If you want to make it vegetarian, leave out the sausage and add in more vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the center down to about 1/2″ thickness, reserving about 1/2 cup. Cut up the reserved zucchini it if it’s not too seedy. If it is, I recommend using another zucchini for the filling (this is what I did) and cutting it into 1/2″ dice. Put the two halves of the zucchini into a large baking dish.

stuffedzucchini2

Dice into 1/2″ pieces the onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and eggplant. Mince the garlic.

Remove the sausage from the casings and break it apart into small pieces. Cook the sausage all the way through in a pan. Set aside to cool.

stuffedzucchini4 Heat a large pan (I used a non-stick wok) and add 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Cook the onions until translucent. Add in the eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini and bell peppers.
Cook until they start to get soft and then add in the garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool until you can touch it (we’re going to add in the egg next and you don’t want it to cook as soon as it touches the hot vegetables).

In a large bowl, mix together the sausage and the vegetables. Mix in the beaten egg, Parmesan cheese, fresh breadcrumbs and 2 Tbsp. fresh basil to bind it all together. Scoop it into the zucchini halves, mounding up the filling.

stuffedzucchini3

Cover with foil and seal the edges around the baking dish (this will keep it moist and help steam cook the zucchini). Bake for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender (but not mushy!). Remove the foil and turn the oven to broil. Sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan and place it under the broiler for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove and garnish with more fresh basil.

stuffedzucchini5

These two halves of zucchini served 5 people for dinner and I wish we’d had more. There were no leftovers and not much for seconds, though it was so good everyone (yes, even me, “vegetable ambivalent girl”) said they could have eaten more. If I were to make again, I’d make two.

One last confession; when I made the filling for the zucchini I ended up with about double the amount I needed. I set half of it aside before adding in the egg, breadcrumbs and cheese and used it the following day for a pasta. I added in some ratatouille I’d made and pureed into a sauce and some extra fresh tomatoes.
The amounts in the recipe have been adjusted back, but if you end up with extra stuffing anyway, I recommend you add some tomatoes or tomato sauce and make pasta!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mom August 12, 2009 at 7:32 am

This was yummy … very garden-fresh tasting. Left over stuffing can also be used for a great ravioli filling…

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2 raydeen August 12, 2009 at 10:49 am

Stuffed Zuc. looks good. Reminds me of summer when I was a kid…everything mom could think of to use up the bumper crop that was inevitable. We’ve been receiving gifts of zuchini from our next door neighbors. Of course we told them how much we loved them, so we find more at our door a couple times a week. (I can’t wait til the zucchini bumper evolves into tomatoes…)
Here’s something I did to use up last week’s supply: Using pretty much the same ingredients you did for the stuffed Zuc, I made a sort of lasagne where zuchini slices (lengthwise) replaced the pasta noodles. Just be sure to salt the slices to extract a lot of the water, use a yummy, meaty sauce and plenty of cheese. You could forget you’re tired of zuchini!

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3 Cookie August 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

When I was reading the ingredients, I did think it was a lot of stuffing for just 1 zucchini! I bet the left-over is great with pasta or maybe even stuffed into some bell peppers!

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4 Nywoman August 17, 2009 at 6:14 am

I am on this making your own ricotta kick right now. I was given a few zucchini from a garden. That is a treat when you live in the heart of the Big Apple. I made a zucchini lasagna using Newman Sockaroo tomato sauce, alright so I am lazy, ricotta mixed with parsley and grated parmesan. layered and baked it. It was really good, both hot and cold.
I didn’t salt the zucchini but parboiled for 3 minutes

Now if I can get myself to the Farmers Market I will try your recipe.

The leftover ricotta I used mixed with parmesan, basil and an egg stuffed it under the breast of a chicken, that had the backbone removed and roasted it. Now my kick is done with for awhile.

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5 Amy August 18, 2009 at 11:22 am

I made this last night nad we LOVED it! Thank you!

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6 formerchef August 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

That’s great! Thanks so much for letting me know!

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7 Tiffany August 19, 2009 at 7:41 am

Yes, I could totally rock this. I, too, have to hide my veggies/trick myself/treat myself for eating my veggies.

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8 toni August 20, 2009 at 9:31 am

going to try this for the first time looks good and simple enough. just hope i set the oven to the correct temp i am guessing 350 since it does not tell me in the recipe as to what to pre heat the oven for.. but anyways. wish me luck and thank you will let you know what my kids thought of it. it does look deeeelisssshhhhhhhh

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9 formerchef August 20, 2009 at 9:58 am

Oh my Gosh! Thanks for pointing out I forget to put the oven temp in! I’ll have to fix that. Doh! Yes, 350 should be just fine. let me know how it comes out.

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10 Kay Braddock August 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm

There are a couple of omissions in the printable version. It doesn’t say to cook the sausage first. I did my stuffing without first cooking the sausage. Hopefully it will come out okay. Also it did not say what temp to set the oven. I don’t have a computer in my kitchen and just used the print copy.

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11 formerchef August 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Hi Kay-
Actually, the PDF version does say
“Remove the sausage from the casings and break it apart into small pieces. Cook the sausage all the way through in a pan. Set aside to cool.”
It’s right in between instructions for dicing the onions and cooking the vegetables in a pan.
You’re right about the oven temp. I left that out of the blog version and only added it in after another commentor let me know. I need to add in the temp (350 degrees) into the print version.
Sorry for any misunderstanding. Hopefully it will still cook ok, just make sure the stuffing is cooked all the way through and at least 165 degrees inside.
Let me know how it comes out.

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12 Shana Moore August 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Loved it!! Just had the girlfriends over and made 1/2 veggie and 1/2 with turkey sausage. It was a big hit and I just emailed everyone a copy. Thank you for posting this – zucchini is an amazing vegetable in its abundance and ideal for a time of being mindful of where our money goes.

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13 Lori August 29, 2009 at 10:26 am

Hi FormerChef!

I made this twice last week. The first time, I followed your recipe exactly. The second time I omitted the bread crumbs, chopped & added in the zucchini, added a little extra olive oil & then served it over soba noodles (all I had in my pantry that evening). Great, fast, nutritious dinner for a work evening. Very flavorful. This will be a repeat recipe for my family.

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14 Rebecca September 6, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Very good and adaptable recipe. I made it with bell pepper, carrot, tomatillo, a little red cabbage, and a little onion, and italian sausage. I also included the bread crumbs and egg. I love the fresh taste of the zucchini–and otherwise, not a big zucchini fan. I cooked the extra stuffing around the zucchini halves. My son is not a big vegetable eater and I guessed that he would omit the zucchini shell and just eat the stuffing. Thanks!

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15 Chili-Diva September 6, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I just found this recipe and have made out my shopping list to make this tomorrow. It looks delicious.

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16 Catherine Dancy June 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hi: I tried the recipe. I just wanted to tell you that when I click the printable version, it does NOT contain the oven temperature. I guessed right at 350, but I was busy stuffing the mixture to try and open my computer to find out the original recipe.

It was great! I did not have all the ingredients, so I just used an extra amount of peppers instead of eggplant and mushrooms.

I had a huge 3 pound zucchini and this was the perfect recipe.

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17 Catherine Dancy August 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm

This is a great recipe! Since I didn’t have any eggplant or tomatoes, I used a product called Granada Eggplant and pepper dip. I have also substituted Granada Sweet pepper and tomato dip.

Thanks!

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