Pesto Stuffed Zucchini

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Ginormous zucchini in your garden? Try this recipe, hollowed out zucchini, stuffed with basil pesto, fresh croutons, Mozzarella, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

You know what happens when you go on vacation, even for a few days, and you have zucchini growing in your garden? Even when it’s only for four days and you’ve picked every visible zucchini you can right before you leave?

Bats, that’s what. Baseball bats.

Humongous baseball bat-sized zucchini that you can’t imagine could have grown in just four days. Let alone three of them.

What the heck? Where did these come from? Obviously you’re blind, you tell yourself, they must have been hiding under a leaf. Lots of leaves. Whatever.

Now you have them, so what to do? Zucchini bread and zucchini cake are obvious choices, and you can also scoop out some of the insides of these mongo zucchinis, stuff the zucchini shells, and bake them.

Which is exactly what we’ve done here.

Pesto Stuffed Zucchini

This stuffed zucchini recipe is somewhat of a gardener’s paradise. If you are growing zucchini, you are also likely growing tomatoes and basil.

We make pesto with our excess of basil, and we pick cherry tomatoes from our plants all summer long.

The stuffing for this recipe is just freshly made croutons and Mozzarella cheese, tossed with basil pesto, some grated Parm, a few chopped cherry tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts.

A perfect summer garden meal. Enjoy!

Pesto Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of day old cubed bread*
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 very large zucchini (about 2 pounds), otherwise known as a baseball bat zucchini
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Salt

*The bread should be a little dry, this way it will toast better. If you don't have day old or slightly dry bread, cut up fresh bread and lay out on a baking sheet. Heat in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Method

1 Toast croutons: In a medium skillet, melt butter on medium to medium high heat. Add the slightly dry cubed bread, toss to coat at least some of the sides in a little butter.

Lay out in a single layer cook, without moving the croutons, until one side is lightly browned, then toss and let cook a little more so a few more sides get a little brown. Remove from pan and let cool to touch.

2 Toast pine nuts: While the croutons are browning, heat a small skillet on high. Add the pine nuts and cook until they begin to brown (do not walk away, once they start browning they can easily go from brown to burnt!).

When they start to brown, remove them from the pan into a small bowl.

3 Combine croutons, Mozzarella, pesto, Parmesan, tomatoes, pine nuts: Place the croutons and Mozzarella in a medium bowl. Toss with the pesto. Add the grated Parmesan, chopped cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and toss some more.

4 Stuff the zucchini boats: Heat the oven to 375°F. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inner flesh with a metal spoon, leaving 1/4 to a 1/2-inch thickness in the zucchini boats.**

5 Bake in oven: Place the zucchini boats in a roasting pan. Sprinkle the inside of the boats with salt. Fill the boats with the stuffing mixture.

Pour a cup or so of water into the bottom of the roasting pan (so that zucchini doesn't dry out on the outside), to about 1/4 inch depth.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375°F.

**In this recipe we are not using the zucchini flesh that we have scooped out. You can easily freeze it for later use with zucchini recipes such as zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, or zucchini cake. Or you can chop some of it up and mix it in with the stuffing mixture.

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Links:

Roasted Zucchini Pesto from Angie's Recipes

Penne Pasta with Zucchini and Basil Pesto

Zucchini noodles with pesto from Tea and Cookies

Zucchini Pesto Lasagna from The Bojon Gourmet

Pesto Stuffed Zucchini

Showing 4 of 11 Comments

  • La Tante de Mary

    Joining in from the countryside in France where I am awash in supersized courgettes. This is a lovely recipe, and it makes a fine lunch. I prettied it up with a grating of parmesan, and a few halved cherry tomatoes arranged insouciantly on top.

    Thanks to the person in the comments who pointed out zucchini relish. I have not only my own baseball bats, but my English neighbour’s cricket bats to deal with, as they asked me to cull their garden while they were elsewhere, and I turned my back on their zucchinis for a day too long!

  • Inez

    hmmm wondering … would this be just as good with the baseball bat size Crook-neck squash?

    I don’t see why not! ~Elise

  • Tricia @ Saving room for dessert

    I just picked two baseball bats from our garden and plan to stuff them with a Quinoa mixture. So funny – this made me laugh. I don’t know how they grow that fast. Lovely recipe!

  • KimH

    Looks wonderful. Toss some cumin in there and its much like something I ate when I was a kid.

    Something else you could use those bats for and what I let get that size on purpose before the years end is Zucchini Relish. This recipe is the closest to mine that I’ve seen online. http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2008/08/homemade-zucchini-relish.html

    The differences are
    1. my recipe calls for 2 red bell peppers, 2 green ones, and 2 jalapenos
    2. Mine doesnt call for any cornstarch or other thickener
    3. The proportions of the spices are a little different and mine calls for pickling spice instead of nutmeg.
    4. Mine says to simmer 20 minutes, but Nanny who i got the recipe from didnt water bath them but just processed them into clean canning jars. I water bath pints for 10 minutes.

    I no longer buy sweet relish of any kind because this is better than any out there. I give it as gifts for Christmas fairly often and people always tell me how they sit there with a spoon and usually eat the whole jar by itself instead of using it with something. Yep, its that good..

    I’ll have to try it, thank you! And I love Alanna’s site, thanks for sharing. ~Elise

  • Connie Martin

    When did you plant your zucchini, is it a summertime veggie? I live in Fl. and it gets hot here, although it’s been hot all over the country this year! I make stuffed zucchini using grd. turkey and rice with a tomatoe sause that is really good! Very spanish, with olives and cumin. MMMMgood!!

    Yes, most places zucchini is a summertime veggie, though I think in Florida it gets too hot in the summer and it’s easier to grow zucchini and tomatoes in the winter? ~Elise

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