Benefit from phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber found in vegetable peels with these Italian-inspired zucchini boats.
Zucchini’s are so versatile. They can be sliced and grilled, turned into healthy noodles or scooped out to make delicious vessels for your ingredients. Any way you serve them, be sure to leave on the peel. Many peels are rich sources of nutrients and antioxidants, says Heidi Turner, a registered dietitian and medical nutrition therapist at the Seattle Arthritis Clinic. “Phytonutrients and antioxidants help to support healthy immune response, and fiber feeds beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract,” she says. Enjoy zucchini – skins and all – with this recipe courtesy of registered dietitians and sisters Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames.
To make this recipe you will need a knife, two bowls and a baking pan.
Nutrition information (per serving)*: Total Fat (1.7g); Carbohydrates (27g); Sodium (220mg); Sugar (9g); Fiber (4g); Cholesterol (0mg); Protein (6g)
3 medium zucchinis
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1/8 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1/8 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 diced jalapeno (seeds removed)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1. Boil and scoop out zucchinis
Boil 3 medium zucchinis about 10 minutes, then slice lengthwise and scoop flesh into a bowl, leaving 1/4-inch-thick “boats.”
2. Make tomato paste blend
In a separate bowl combine tomato paste, garlic and onion powders, dried cilantro and chopped basil.
3. Create zucchini mixture
Mix zucchini pulp with diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, diced jalapeno, crushed red pepper, Italian bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Assemble zucchini boats and bake
Coat zucchini boats with tomato paste blend, fill with vegetable mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Ingredient Tips & Benefits
- Whenever you keep the skin on a fruit or vegetables it’s important to thoroughly scrub off dirt and pesticide residue with water and a brush before prepping and cooking.
- Zucchini skin is rich in vitamins C, K and antioxidants. Cooked zucchini is especially high in vitamin A, which supports your immune system. Carotenoids, the type of antioxidant found in zucchini skin supports healthy eyes, skin and the heart, as well as protects against certain cancers.
- For a heartier meal, serve zucchini boats over whole grain pasta tossed in extra virgin olive oil. Whole grains are heart healthy and olive oil is rich in polyphenols that may reduce joint damage in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
*Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided is approximate and based on USDA measurements. Actual amounts may vary based on exact ingredients used, how they are prepared and serving size.
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