Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

This recipe was inspired by my Grandfather's farm (and the Trader Joe's produce section).

Throughout the summer, I've been confronted with beautifully-stacked zucchini during my weekly grocery run. But I never brought any home because I know how much CaveBoy detests the fruit (how do you like that proper use of the definition?). But then last week while I was shopping, as I passed the zucchini pile, I recalled my mother's stuffed zucchini recipe, and I was sold.

When I was growing up, my GrandpaG lived on a farm (the same farm my mother grew-up on, but that's a story for another day). GrandpaG kept cows, a lake stocked with fish, a giant pear tree, and a huge garden. He grew corn, peas, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon, and all sorts of other things. He also had rows and rows of raspberry bushes. It was a produce paradise (he also had a batting cage, a swing set, and a huge barn. So it actually was a multi-genre paradise.).

Unlike the zucchini you normally find in the grocery store, GrandpaG's zucchini was HUGE. One stuffed zucchini (two halves) could feed our whole family. This recipe is a modified version of my childhood memory. First because I don't have access to gigantor-zucchini, and second because my mom's recipe was not Whole30-approved.

And just incase you're worried, CaveBoy (grudgingly) ate the stuffed zucchini with me. He complimented the filling (so that's good!) and requested that next time I stuff it into a pepper instead. But he also agreed that if I am willing to eat broccoli with him, then eating zucchini once a year isn't all that bad. On that note: I say this recipe still counts as a success!

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

Like a smile on a plate.


8 medium zucchini
4 lb Italian sausage
4 eggs, beaten
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 head garlic, cloves finely diced
2 cups pork rinds, crushed (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper


Remove stems from zucchini and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds from each zucchini half (I used a melon baller).* Make sure to leave enough zucchini to have a sturdy zucchini-boat. Arrange on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook onion until it becomes translucent. Add garlic and cook until it becomes aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, and egg. Mix well. Divide into 16 evenly-sized meatballs. Press each meatball into a zucchini boat, filling the space. Shape the meatball so that it is evenly distributed along the zucchini-boat, for more even cooking. Bake at 400 degrees until pork is fully cooked. About 45 minutes. If desired (and I recommend it!), remove the stuffed zucchini from the oven and sprinkle crushed pork rinds on top. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Makes 16 4 oz portions (or 5 servings each for CaveBoy and CaveGril).

*Note: Don't throw the zucchini centers away! I put mine in a Ziplock bag and stashed them in the freezer. I plan to use them to make zucchini bread once the Whole30 is over (and share it with someone other than CaveBoy).

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