Zucchini Boats

True confession - I've never made stuffed zucchini before creating this recipe. I'm not quite sure how that happened (or didn't happen). I've certainly eaten it enough times, and have watched many cultural variations being made but never got around to making it myself. This warm September brings the gift of extending the season for these tender young squash, so I'm putting them to good use!

I decided to take a different approach with this recipe because I wanted to make a dish that did not include any members of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. These include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, gogi berries and tobacco. While these foods contain a host of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, they also contain alkaloids which some people have difficulty digesting in the same way some people cannot digest gluten well and therefore need to avoid it. For those with sensitivities, alkaloids can exacerbate inflammation but they are not the cause of inflammation. If you are uncertain whether nightshades negatively affect you or not, remove them from your diet for two weeks and keep a food journal to record any physical or digestive changes. If you notice any improvements in arthritis symptoms or less bloating or cramping, continue to avoid these foods. However, if you don't notice any changes then add them back to your diet. They're nutrient dense... and delicious!

Now let me show you how to pull these together. PRINT HERE.

Total Time: 47 minutes Prep Time: 7 minutes (5 minutes can be done while the rice is cooking) Cooking Time: 40 minutes

For 4 servings you will need:

1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)

salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup chickpeas, cooked (rinse if using canned)

2T lightly toasted pinenuts

1/3 cup assorted olives, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

4 medium zucchini, 6-8" long

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine rice and the next four ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes (or according to package directions) until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes.

2. While rice is cooking, wash, dry and cut zucchini in half, lengthwise. Using a metal spoon, scoop out the inner seeds and a bit of the soft flesh. Leave at least 1/4" of flesh.

3. Place on a cast iron griddle or baking sheet and season with freshly ground black pepper and a dash of salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tender firm. If you used a cast iron pan, the undersides of the zucchini will be nicely browned.

4. While the zucchini is baking, fluff the rice with a fork. Add the chickpeas and toasted pinenuts. Stir to combine.

5. Transfer the zucchini to serving plates and fill each one with about 1/3 cup of the rice mixture. Top each zucchini boat with 2 tsps. chopped olives and a sprinkling of fresh basil. Enjoy!

Nutrition information is for two zucchini boats.

When you make this recipe be sure to circle back here and let me know how you liked it - or take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!

Disclosures: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any brand or product. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I use and trust.

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CatherineeBrown@hotmail.com  603-237-1012  PO Box 253 Errol, NH 03579