Introduction: Balsamic Bruschetta Zucchini Boats
These are a twist on the original bruschetta bread. They are delicious, nutritious and a heath conscious option. They make a terrific appetizer or a side dish to a meal.
Prep time is about 15 min.
Cook time is 30-32 min.
Step 1: Ingredients
Gather up the ingredients you will require.
-2 1/2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes, about 6-8 depending on their size. ( I opted to substitute all but 2 of the roma tomatoes for grape tomatoes as i prefer the taste of them)
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 bunch fresh basil ,chopped ( i used pre chopped basil as no fresh bunches available)
2 cloves garlic, chopped super fine( I prefer using garlic paste in the jar)
2 tbls balsamic vinegar
4 tbls virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper.
Step 2: Zucchini Preparation
Pre heat over to 350 degrees
Wash Zucchini. Cut both ends off the Zucchini and cut each one in half length wise. Hollow out some of the seed part. Cut slits into the zucchini length wise. It makes it easier to dig out the center. I use a grapefruit knife for hollowing. I find it easiest. You can use a regular knife. Just go slowly so you don't cut right through the zucchini . You don't want any of that delicious juice to leak out the bottom. You could probably use a spoon to scoop out the center once the slits have been cut. I have found that trying to hollow the zucchini without the slits often results in the zucchini cracking. Once your done, your zucchinis should look like a canoes.
Once they are hollow, set them on a shallow backing sheet. I like to cover my baking pan with parchment paper so the zucchini doesn't stick. Pour about 1 tbls of olive oil into a small bowl. Using a brush, coat each zucchini top with the oil. Sprinkle the lot with a little salt and pepper.
Place the pan in the oven and set timer for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Bruschetta Preparation
While your Zucchini is baking. the other ingredients can be prepared.
Wash your tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil. Chop tomatoes. I like to chop the Roma tomatoes very fine. The grape tomatoes I tend to leave a little more chunky. Once you have 2 1/2 cups, chop red onion. I just keep adding my ingredients to the same measuring cup to save dishes. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar salt and pepper. Add the garlic and your basil. Here, I know I have horrified cooks and chefs all over. YES, I used pureed garlic and pre chopped basil as well (this time). Although I had planned to use fresh basil there was none available when I did my shopping so I bought pre chopped. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Garlic on the other hand I only use the pureed version. I do not use it often enough to buy fresh. Either it dries up or goes moldy. So for me... bottled is the ONLY option.
Toss all your ingredients together.
Once the over timer goes off add the parmesan cheese and toss again. Your now ready to load the boats.
Step 4: Final Preparations
Remove the zucchini from the oven. Turn the oven temperature up to 425 degrees. While your oven is preheating, load your zucchini boats.Divide the bruschetta mixture among the zucchini you have prepared. I like to fill mine till they are overflowing. Depending on the size of your zucchini, you may have some left over bruschetta. When I made the tutorial I used 4 zucchini ( all about 6-7" long without the stems) and ended up with enough bruschetta left over for 2 more zucchinis. That's ok though because it makes a great salad as well :)
Replace the baking sheet in the oven once it is to temp. Set your timer for 10-12 min.
Step 5: Serving
These can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish to the main course.
In my example I served them as a side dish, accompanied with High Temperature Eye of Round Roast and vegetable rice pilaf.
Sit and enjoy the fruits of your labour.