Making zucchini bowls is a fun, creative, and semi-nutritious way to make use of this often plentiful summer crop. The concept is simple: hollow out your zucchini, fill it with savory foods, and top it off with cheese. The recipe for this instructable is a sort of cheese-burger blend, but you can also create an Italian blend using tomato sauce, sausage, and mozzarella cheese. In other words, this instructable is meant to be a blueprint to which you can add your own ideas and recipes. No matter what you do, the end result should be both delicious and filling.
Cooking time: approx. 45-50 minutes.
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Step 1: Harvesting and Washing
The first phase involves preparing your zucchinis for filling up. First, obviously, you will need to harvest your zucchini from your garden or the local grocery store.
To make a bowl, you will ideally need a round zucchini (in this case, we used a hybrid "eight-ball" variety), although you can also create zucchini "boats" by cutting traditional (oblong) zucchinis lengthwise using the same concept.Try to pick zucchinis of the same size so everyone can get a fairly equal portion. If it is a good, melon sized zucchini, you can usually count on one feeding two people, so try to estimate how many you will need to harvest based on that.
Finally, wash them thoroughly (especially if they are from the grocery store).
Step 2: Apparatus
Once you have your zucchinis picked out and washed, assemble your supplies.
Here is what you will need:
- At least two zucchinis (depending on the size of the zucchini, one bowl usually feeds one person [so count on about two meals per zucchini])
- Cheddar Cheese (Or mozzarella, pepper jack, etc. The choice is yours.)
- Olive Oil
- Cooked meat (generally sausage or ground beef)
- Onions (or other flavorful vegetables)
- Any kind of herbs or spices you desire
- A sharp knife
- Two spoons
- Paper plates
- A paper bowl
- A stainless steel pan or two
- Stainless steel tongs
- A grill
- A stove burner or two
- A hungry crowd
Step 3: Hollowing Your Zucchini
To carve out your zucchini, start by cutting the woody parts off the top and bottom with your knife. Try not to cut too much off of the actual zucchini center, or you will run the risk of having a hole in your bowl. This is alright (unfortunately what happened in the accompanying image), but not preferable.
Next, slice the two zucchinis into two equal portions, and proceed to hollow out each side with your spoon. Save some of the chunks of zucchini (waste not) for later by placing them in a separate bowl. If you are not using a hybrid zucchini, you may even want to save your seeds for growing next year (mainly if you are creating zucchini "boats" with traditional zucchini).
Once they are hollowed out, lather the insides with olive oil (you can go ahead and put in your spices now too - or you can add them later into your meats / vegetable fillers).
Meanwhile, you should begin cooking the meats and / or sauteing the vegetables on the stove (see next step).
Step 4: Cooking Your Meat and Vegetables
Before you grill your zucchini bowls, saute your onions and cook your ground beef (or whatever type of meat you are using). Toss in some of your zucchini bowl "scraps" with your meat if you so desire (as you can see in the second image). You will probably want to add any spices now if you haven't already. Stir with a spoon.
(This step can be completed while you are slicing your zucchini bowls or in between hollowing them out and putting them on the grill.)
Step 5: Grill 'em
Now it is time to toss your freshly hollowed zucchini bowls on the grill. Start by placing the hollowed side down and setting the grill temperature to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 10 minutes, flip the bowls over (using your tongs) and grill for another 10 minutes. Adjust your bowls with the tongs as needed.
(Note: The bottoms should not have holes in them.)
Step 6: Fill Your Bowls
Once the zucchini bowls have been on the grill for about 20 minutes, fill them up with your meat and / or vegetables. Then layer a good amount of cheese on top. Close the grill again (leaving it at 400 F) and let them cook for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and all of the contents are well-toasted.
Step 7: Serve
Now you can serve your hungry dinner guests! Zucchini bowls go well with other fresh garden produce (such as this tomato) or a salad. If you are using a large zucchini, the two halves will usually feed two people. Smaller zucchinis, however, may only serve one. Simply eyeball the proportions and decide what will be best for you and your guests.