For a more substantial side dish or a vegetarian entree, I made the unfortunately named Zuccanoes. They are zucchini halves that are hollowed out like a canoe, but because they were created by Mollie Katzen in the original “Moosewood Cookbook,” I’m willing to give the name a pass.
Besides, anything that tastes this good should be tried.
What makes these canoe-shaped zucchini treats better than all those other canoe-shaped zucchini treats you keep hearing about these days is the stuffing. This stuffing is made from sautéed onions and mushrooms mixed with rice and minced nuts, for an earthy and obviously nutty taste.
Then you grate cheese on top and bake it. Because, let’s face it, everything tastes better with baked cheese on top.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
4 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces mushrooms, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice, any kind
1 1/2 cups minced almonds or pecans, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Black pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
A few pinches of freshly minced or dried herbs (any combination of parsley, basil, dill, thyme or marjoram)
1 cup (packed) grated Swiss or cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the zucchini lengthwise down the middle. Use a smallish spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving a canoe with a 1/4-inch shell. Mince the insides, and set everything aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and salt, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Add the minced zucchini innards and the mushrooms. Turn up the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring, letting the liquid evaporate. Stir in the garlic and remove from heat.
4. Stir in the rice and nuts, along with the lemon juice, and season to taste with black pepper, cayenne and the herbs of your choice.
5. Fill the zucchini shells, top with cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until heated through. Serve hot.
Per serving (based on 4): 398 calories; 28 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 17 mg cholesterol; 16 g protein; 25 g carbohydrate; 6 g sugar; 6 g fiber; 414 mg sodium; 262 mg calcium
– “Moosewood Cookbook,” by Mollie Katzen