There are many recipes for stuffed zucchini out there, and they are universally loved because they are loaded with cheese. These delicious Calabacitas Rellenas are easy to make and are especially popular with picky teens. Who can resist melty, cheesy goodness?
When we plan a meal, we tend to choose the protein first, and then we choose starches and vegetables after that. These zucchini boats would complement any meat or fish you decide to serve on your dinner plate. And if you are vegetarian, they would be a perfect addition to your meal, packing a serving of protein on your menu.
Since my family comes and goes at different times, I like to make a large batch and have it ready to bake, either in the oven, or in the microwave. Everyone is happy when there’s food in the fridge and it can be reheated in a jiffy.
I like to think this dish is Mexican. I certainly remember it from my childhood. It was part of our everyday food repertoire, and we had Calabacitas Rellenas at least every two weeks. If you think of it though, this dish could be from anywhere in the world, if you vary the kind of cheese and the herbs you use.
In Mexico, we use Chihuahua or Manchego cheese (or any kind of mild cheese that melts beautifully), and season with Mexican oregano. I like to keep these simple, but you could also add chopped tomato and fresh herbs if you want a more colourful dish. I prefer to use the small white Mexican calabacitas, as they are usually more tender and have less seeds. If you’re having trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables, make a batch of these zucchini boats and watch them disappear!
Zucchini Boats with Cheese
6 white zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 cup shredded Mozzarella or Brick cheese
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp Mexican oregano
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Wash zucchini, trim both ends, and slice in half lengthwise. Using melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/8” thick walls. Reserve trimmings. Brush edges of zucchini halves with a bit of the melted butter and bake, cut side down, in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
While zucchini is baking, chop trimmings roughly and place in a medium bowl. Add the cheese, remaining melted butter, salt, pepper and oregano.
Fill zucchini halves with this mixture, tamping down so they don’t overflow.
Increase oven temperature to 375°F. Bake zucchini for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and is starting to brown. Serve hot.
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com