Eight-ball zucchini is a round, softball-sized variety of summer squash. You can find it at farmers' markets, or purchase it from specialty produce purveyors such as Frieda's (www.friedas.com). This recipe is equally delicious when made with the more commonly found long, slender zucchini squash.
1 (1-ounce) slice French bread, torn into small pieces
6 eight-ball zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
8 basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, peeled and quartered (about 5 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Set aside.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Set pulp aside. Steam zucchini shells, covered, 6 minutes or until tender. Drain, cut sides down, on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels.
Place zucchini pulp in food processor; process until finely chopped. Spoon into a bowl. Place spinach, basil, garlic, and onion in food processor; process until finely chopped.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini pulp, tomato, and salt; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs.
Fill each zucchini half with about 2 1/2 tablespoons zucchini mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Agree with other reviewers that this is delicious! I drained the chopped squash over a sieve for a while before adding it to the pan for cooking--and was glad I did because a lot of water drained out. Added a bit more basil, some fresh oregano, and crushed red pepper. I also made this in the morning, then baked in the evening. Served with Italian chicken sausage that I cooked in the oven alongside the squash and a green salad with artichoke hearts. My husband probably would have liked bread or pasta on the side, but since I was also baking an apple cake in the same oven, I decided to let him get his carbs that way!
This was a great recipe, and a great way to use our eight-ball zucchini! My boyfriend loved it, and he's not a big veggie guy. I used panko instead of breadcrumbs, and mixed cheese in with the mixture before filling. Panko and cheese on top and it was awesome.
While this is a great vegetarian dish, we did think it would be over the top with good sausage mixed in. :)
I thought this was absolutely delicious. I plan on using other squash as well. I did substitute the fresh plum tomatoes with a can of diced tomatoes (drained) and it still came out great. I added more parmesan cheese in the filling and on top and used panko bread crumbs.
This recipe was a hit with our whole family - my daughter proclaimed it "super-duper yummy", and she normally will not touch a zucchini! I used 3 regular zucchini and 3 yellow summer squash. I doubled the spinach, garlic, and basil. As another reviewer suggested, I used multi-grain bread in place of the French bread. Served with Parmesan couscous with toasted almonds and a simple garden salad.
Extremely tasty for such a healthy dish! I only used five zucchinis, but had just the right amount of filling for them. I didn't alter the recipe besides not having a food processor (all of my ingredients were finely hand-chopped).
I think this one might go well with some red pepper flakes for a little kick, will try that next time!
My husband found eight ball zucchinis at the farm market. Never having used them before I googled for recipes. Found this and it sounded simple enough. I chose to use whole grain bread instead of french and was very pleased with the result! It was a hit with hubby and my 14yr old son. Definitely making this again! 2 thumbs up for sure.
I made this for the first time when friends came to dinner and it was a big hit. 8 Ball wasn't available so I used calabasa squash which is a tad bit larger. I used only 4 and that made 8 servings because of the size (plus with all the other food, that was plenty) and didn't have to adjust the amount of ingredients. I also made it way ahead; I did it in the morning and refrigerated it and then took it out about an hour before baking. Simply added the cheese and baked according to directions and it was perfect! Everyone wanted the recipe!! Thanks again for a new take on an old veggie.
I did not have spinach so i substituted a can of drained artichokes. i chopped them and added after cooking the other vegetables and before the bread crumbs. i also used regular zucchini and just weigh them for 1+1/2 lbs, which was 3 medium to big zucchini. i only steamed for 5 minutes. i also added 1/2 c dried tomatoes instead of the diced fresh ones. i would add more the next time. it is a good use of zucchini!!! and very versatile for what you add. mushrooms would be great!!
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