Zucchini

This veggie dish has all the flavor of your favorite Italian meals, minus the meat. Going meatless even once a week has perks. Did you know eating more plant based foods means you’re getting more fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and other nutrients. This dish is an easy and quick weeknight meal and I find I always have leftover filling which can be used to create another meal later in the week. I like to use the extra filling for bruschetta or stuffed into other kinds of veggies like mushrooms and peppers. You can also add a little more heat to this dish with crushed red pepper – yum!

ingredients:
4 medium zucchini
1 jar water packed artichokes (6 0z), drained
1 cup cooked orzo (you can use couscous as well)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out seeds and flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell and reserving the flesh (for your filling). Brush zucchini shells with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Zucchini

While zucchini is baking, chop the reserved zucchini and artichokes and place in a medium-size bowl. Add garlic and combine.

Heat the remaining oil in a nonstick skillet and cook the zucchini mixture for 3-5 minutes, until zucchini is softened. Remove from heat and add cooked orzo, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and marinara sauce.

Fill each zucchini shell with about 1/3 cup filling and top each with 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Return filled zucchini to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, until filling is heated through and cheese is melted.