Chile peppers are not the only things that can be stuffed. Take zucchinis, for example. Their flavor is mild enough to pair with strong southwest flavors.
So here, southwest food fans, is yet another way to use up the end-of-summer zucchini harvest.
I based this recipe on a stuffed pepper recipe that I did a while back, and thought zucchinis might work just as well. I was right. This recipe is now my current favorite way to eat zucchini. The quinoa is such a nice change from plain old rice, and adds a nice texture as well as health benefits. I used pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds) for some crunch and queso fresco for salty cheesiness. Yum.
Try these for a side dish for the whole family, or as an entree for the vegetarians at your table.Hey - how about for a Meatless Monday? Either way, you'll be glad you did.
SOUTHWEST QUINOA STUFFED ZUCCHINIS
Prep time 20 minutes; Cook time 30 minutes; Serves 4 to 6
1 cup cooked quinoa
4 - 8 to 10 inch zucchinis
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced peppers of choice (I used a mix of jalapenos and red bell peppers)
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ cup queso fresco cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds and most of flesh with a spoon. Place zucchini shells in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook one minute. Add peppers and cook another 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook one more minute.Stir in quinoa, half of pepitas and half of cheese. Stuff zucchinis with quinoa mixture, using it all by mounding quinoa in zucchinis.
Spray lightly with oil. Bake for about 30 minutes at top of oven, until lightly browned.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining seeds and cheese and serve immediately.