Saturday, July 31, 2021

Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Pine Nut Salsa


Zucchinis, Zukes, or Courgettes, same thing, and at the moment they are in season here, so if you have lots of them in your vegetable crisper like I had, this could be the recipe for you. I wanted to do something a bit different with them this time, so why not stuff them? I really like stuffed vegetables, and they transform into a meal in themselves. Serve these as a meal on their own, or if  you are thinking of a banquet, they make a great side dish for hungry people. This recipe is inspired by chef Yotam Ottolenghi, yes I am a fan of his recipes, as you know, and this one has ingredients which you probably have on hand already, if not they are easy to find. I had a lot of fun making this recipe, and it's a cinch to make for Meatless Monday, a Sunday lunch, or just during the week, it's light and easy.

I was preparing the zucchinis, removing the flesh and hollowing them out, having fun and making little canoes, when Mr. HRK came up to me and said I think that might be going a bit far. Mr. HRK has a very quick wit at times, and when I said to him, I need to do this before I can stuff them, which I didn't think was anything too extreme, he said well the Canoe Slalom race is on the TV and Aussie Jessica Fox is racing shortly for a Gold Medal, and you are making canoes? That's really getting into it isn't it? I hadn't even though of that, but we had a good laugh, and then Jessica won the Gold Medal for the Canoe Slalom race which was amazing, she was incredible, and I had my canoes to play with as well:) So Jessica you had  lots of support back here in Australia, and we are so proud of you. So this recipe is an ode to the Slalom Canoe Gold Medal event, and a tribute to Jessica Fox. What a woman.

Cook's Notes:
  • Don't be afraid of adding extra herbal flavour to this dish, it will shine through.
  • If you love chilli, add a chopped capilano sweet chilli to the stuffing mix.
  • Very fresh, organic produce is the key to successful vegetarian cooking. I bought these zucchinis and beautiful cherry tomatoes from a local Mackay farmer, called Sweet As Fresh As, who throughout the Winter sell sweetcorn, tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers and whatever else they have in season. Their strawberries are to die for. I rarely manage to cook with those though, as we eat them all too quickly. They set up a stall at the Wednesday City Markets, and sell from their truck which they drive to a North Mackay roadside spot up the road from Bunnings and opposite a S.D.A. school. They can be found there every Thursday and Sunday morning. They are a real Mackay farming success story.
  • Keep a tightly sealed bottle of lightly toasted pine nuts in the frig, so that they are ready for dishes like these, saves a lot of time. 
  • To save time, the stuffing can be made a day ahead so that the zucchinis are ready to be stuffed and baked.
  • A mix of yellow and green zucchinis also looks very attractive on the plate.


Serves two as a main course, or four as a side

2 large zucchinis, (500 g) halved lengthways
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large beaten egg
40 g Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino) finely grated
40 g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs (about 1 slice, crusts are fine)
100 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large lemon (finely grate the zest for 2 teaspoons, then juice to get 1 tablespoon)
4 tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves (a good bunch), plus a few extra leaves for a garnish
A couple of sprigs of lemon thyme, optional ( I used it because I grow it, and love the flavour)
35 g pine nuts, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil 


Preheat the oven to 230 deg. C fan forced.
Hollow out the zucchinis with a dessert spoon into the shape of canoes, leaving about 1 cm thickness around the edges. The zucchinis will still hold their shape if scooped out carefully.

Prepare the zucchinis and the tomatoes: 

Transfer the zucchini flesh to a sieve or colander and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. I sprinkled the flesh with a small amount of salt and left them for a little while to encourage the salt to drain off, but my zucchinis didn't release much moisture. You are aiming to be left with about 100 g of drained zucchini flesh. 
Meanwhile in another bowl continue the squeezing and crushing and crush the tomatoes well with your hands.
Put the drained zucchini flesh into a bowl, add the crushed tomatoes, and add the egg, garlic, breadcrumbs and Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Give a stir and set aside.

Pine Nut Salsa

In a separate bowl mix the lemon zest, pine nuts, and oregano. Take half of this mixture, and mix into the zucchini mixture. Place the remaining half of the mixture to the side for later, to finish making the salsa.

Place the zucchini canoes on your baking tray, with the hollowed sides facing upwards. 
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the zucchini halves and season them with 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

Fill the zucchinis with the zucchini filling mixture,and bake for 15 minutes, until they are beautifully golden-brown and set. Be careful to check after exactly 15 minutes.

Finish making the Pine Nut Salsa while the zucchinis are baking.
Add the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the bowl of oregano, zest, and pine nuts. 

When the zucchinis have cooled slightly, spread the salsa on each of them, and sprinkle with a garnish of oregano leaves for further flavour and presentation, and serve.

If the zucchinis are being served as a main, serve with a salad and whatever carbohydrate you might prefer. But that is your choice and optional.

We've had moderate success with growing zucchinis, and at the moment we have about 6 volunteer plants in our garden, self seeded from our compost heap, plants with large leaves, which could be zucchinis, could be pumpkins, could be another kind of squash, time will tell, and that's the fun of it. Meanwhile I'll keep shopping for this healthy produce at the markets.

Congratulations to all of the amazing athletes from all nations competing at the Tokyo Olympics. Some of the stories bring tears to our eyes, others fill us with joy and pride. They have all worked so hard to be there.

Warm wishes,  



  1. I too like recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi. These stuffed zucchini boats look absolutely delicious and healthful.

  2. I'm happy to visit here and to meet you here. I, too, am a retiree, and I feel like I'm really learning to bake and cook at this time of my life. My husband have a garden, and it's another retirees' playground for us. Oddly, we've never tried zucchini, but now that you've put this recipe in my mind, I'm adding it to the list for our fall (Northern Hemisphere) garden.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Deb, I love how you call them courgettes in the Northern Hemisphere. I hope you have better luck with growing them than I do, still we do manage to produce some vegetables. Take care, Pauline

  3. Gracias por la receta. Te mando un beso

    1. Thanks so much for your very nice comment.I'm so happy you like the recipe.

  4. Your zucchini look really delicious and I know that Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes are usually amazing. Zucchini is a great choice right now.

    1. Judee it's lovely to hear from you. Zucchini are definitely a favourite here at the moment as well.

  5. I often make stuffed zuchini, and have never added an egg, I bet that helps to hold it together, I will try that next time. I like the sound of that salsa as well. I love Ottolenghis recipes!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, this was such a successful recipe, I am making the most of zucchinis in season. Best wishes, Pauline


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