Orzo Stuffed Zucchini

orzo stuffed zucchini

We eat a lot of zucchini this time of year, or maybe “a lot” is an understatement. If you came to our home right now you would find three varieties of zucchini. It is the peak of the summer squash season and we are lovin it!

I don’t think I have mentioned that I learnt to cook zucchini from my uncle during my college days. Thanks to him, I had my whole dorm eating zucchini! It was a simple baked dish with an awesome aroma. I’ll have to publish that recipe sometime because we still eat it on a regular basis.

My Orzo Stuffed Zucchini are full of orzo pasta with sautéed beets and spinach, then topped with cheese. They pop with rich color and flavor. I think cheese and zucchini are best friends, and you can never go wrong combining them one way or the other.

The only tricky part here is carving out the zucchini. If you scoop too deeply, you can break the shell. On the other hand, if you have fresh, tender zucchini and a grapefruit spoon, you will be all set!

Finally, don’t worry that anything will go to waste. The zucchini flesh that you carve out won’t go into your compost. Instead, in one of my next posts, I will share what I did with my zucchini carvings — the next day 🙂

zucchini

I used:
1/2 cup cooked orzo (or if you prefer, use rice)
1 lb medium-tender zucchini
1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
1 big or a couple small beets, cubed
1 clove of garlic, minced
olive oil
salt, & pepper to taste
a few leaves of fresh greek oregano from my edible garden
(optional) a handful of shaved parmesan or any hard, rich cheese or skip for vegan version

My method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
2. Halve and then carve out each zucchini carefully, I suggest with a grapefruit spoon. Don’t get too close to the skin or you may puncture them. It is also nice to have a bite of zucchini with your stuffing 🙂 Save the carvings for a later dish, in an air tight container, refrigerated.
3. Brush olive oil on the insides of each zucchini, then bake them for a short time, roughly 5-7 minutes or until the zucchini gets slightly crinkled.
4. While that cooks, quickly sauté the garlic and the beets till they cook. Add the spinach, herbs, and seasoning until almost cooked. Don’t overcook as everything will cook more in the oven.
5. When the zucchini shells are ready, first toss the orzo and the veggies together in a bowl. Taste that mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed. If it feels too dry, add a little olive oil and toss.
6. Stuff the zucchini shells with the veggie orzo mixture, then top them with as much cheese as you like. Bake till the cheese and edges look well finished.