LENTIL & QUINOA ZUCCHINI BOATS
These flavor-packed zucchini boats are a great way to use up your in-season veggies and get in a great amount of protein & fiber! This dish is filled with quinoa, lentils, mushrooms, and more to give them a "meaty" texture. Not to mention the perfect topping of fresh pesto & toasted pine nuts for an Italian summer flare. Let me know if you give this recipe a try!
This filling also goes great in other dishes as well so feel free to stuff some yellow squash, eggplant, or even use it as a "meat sauce" base in a lasagna. To do the last option simply take the filling recipe and add 2-3 cups of it to your favorite jarred or homemade sauce and there you have it!
Since I am not using egg in this recipe I use a flax "egg" as a binder. Simply combine 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds with 3 tbsp of water, give it a stir and let set for 15-20 minutes and it will gel and create an egg-like texture.
To scoop out the zucchini I found that using a metal tbsp worked very well as it has a slightly sharper edge than a spoon but a melon-baller would also work great here.
Don't be scared to pack in that filling, it is the best part!
To make things easier you can use a can of crushed tomatoes like I did here, a jar of your favorite tomato sauce, or even homemade if you have it.
I then like to top them with some more sauce to keep the filling moist and some breadcrumbs for an added crunch before baking. To make your own breadcrumbs as I did here I simply toasted 1 1/2 pieces of Daves Killer Bread (any bread will do- the stale-r the better!) and let them cool then added to my food processor with 1/2tsp of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
Once you remove the zucchini from the oven I like to top with some pesto, balsamic glaze, & toasted pine nuts right before serving.
LENTIL & QUINOA ZUCCHINI BOATS
Time: 1 hour | Yield: 4-6 servings
2 large zucchinis or 4 small zucchinis
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 cup of cooked lentils
1 48oz can tomato sauce
2 tbsp olive oil * optional
1 small carrot, diced small
1 stalk of celery, diced small
8-10 crimini mushrooms, diced small
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbsp of Worcestershire
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1/4 cup of pesto
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
First prepare the flax "egg"
Combine the ground flax seeds with 3 tbsp of water in a small bowl. Whisk till well combined and let sit till you are read to use (let sit at least 15 min.)
Next prepare your lentils and quinoa.
I used black lentils and multicolored quinoa, both cook in about 30-45 minutes.
Next prepare your vegetable mix.
In a large pan on medium heat, heat your oil then add the onion, celery, carrot, and mushrooms. Saute for 7-10 minutes until onion is slightly translucent. Next add the garlic, cooking for another 2 minutes, then add the worcesteshire, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir till well combined, cook for another 2 minutes on medium-low heat, then remove pan from heat.
Preheat your oven to 370F
Create the filling.
To a large bowl add the vegetable mix we just finished and the quinoa, lentils, flax egg, and about a 1/4 cup of sauce. Mix till well combined. Season with more salt & pepper to taste if needed.
Prepare your zucchini.
Use a melon baller or metal tbsp to scoop out the inside of your zucchini leaving about a half an inch of all the way around. Feel free to use the zucchini insides in a smoothie as it doesn't have too much flavor but has plenty of nutrients!
Next fill your zucchini with our delicious filling mixture. I like to slightly over fill because it truly is the best part. Next in a baking dish line the bottom with a thin layer of sauce, add in your filled zucchini, then top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle your bread crumbs over the top and bake fore 30 minutes. If your zucchini are larger like mine you may want to bake for 40-45minutes, if they are smaller check after 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Drizzle pesto (I like to water down with a tbsp or 2 of water) and balsamic glaze over the top and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.