Zucchini!!! We have lots of it and I have been doing my best to get creative with it. I’ve made a raw zucchini appetizer, I baked chocolate zuccini muffins, I have made more zucchini “pasta” than I would like to admit and the rest have been getting grilled. These simple to make bites are naturally gluten-free and vegan and work well as a bite-sized appetizer or a delicious side dish.
Last weekend we had dinner plans with Meg and Todd from Beard & Bonnet, who live just around the corner from us and I offered to make something with my homegrown zucchini. Besides being insanely excited to have another food blogger nearby, one who I happen to have a ton in common with, I was also super excited to eat at another gluten-free household where I could be certain everything was 100% safe to eat! Really made for an extra special night.
Meg was making her delicious homemade falafel, so I came up with these Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Bites. They have so much flavor and they are easy to make, I pre-stuffed the zucchini and popped them in the oven when we got to their house. We ate a few before dinner as appetizers and served the rest as a side dish with our meal. If your zucchini is small enough, these bites are the perfect size for picking up with your fingers and popping into your mouth.
What is your favorite way to eat zucchini?
This recipe originally appeared on The Balanced Platter.
[print_this]Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Bites – Gluten-free + Vegan
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or 2 to 4 as a side dish
- 2 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra, if need be
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, in oil, roughly chopped + some of the oil they are packed in
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced or roughly chopped
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper or a silpat.
Slice off the tops and bottoms of your zucchinis, and then cut them into 1 to 1 1/2-inch long segments. Stand each segment up on one of the cut sides, and use a melon baller (or spoon) to remove the center flesh. Be careful not to scoop all the way through the bottom and create a hole (if you do make a small one, it’ll be fine). Arrange the hollowed-out zucchini pieces onto your prepared baking sheet so that they’re ready to go. Set aside.
Heat up the olive oil in a small sauce pan, add in the onion and garlic, sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, then add the quinoa. Stir it around and let the quinoa get coated in a little oil and let it toast up for a minute. Add in your liquid (broth or water), thyme and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, take the temperature down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop your mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. After the quinoa is cooked, add it to a medium sized bowl. In the same pan you cooked the quinoa in, add a little more olive oil if need be and quickly sauté the mushrooms, just a couple of minutes until they are soft.
Add the mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and the fresh basil to the quinoa. Stir everything together add salt and pepper, to taste. I like to add some of the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes to the stuffing, maybe 1 tablespoon or two. You could also just use a little more olive oil.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared zucchini pieces, letting it mound up as much as you’d like. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the stuffing is lightly browned and the zucchini is slightly tender (you don’t want them to get overcooked or they will be too mushy and be hard to eat).[/print_this]