A few weeks ago I posted #WHOLE30 Stuffed Zucchini 2 Ways as part of my series of recipes based upon a recent HealthGrove study identifying top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair. As I’ve mentioned in each recipe I’ve shared in the series, 27 of those 30 foods are #WHOLE30-compliant foods (the 3 exceptions being non-soy legumes, e.g. green peas and pea pods). None of the 30 foods from the list are dairy or grains products. I found the study so inspiring that I challenged myself to create all new #WHOLE30-compliant recipes with each of the 27 foods from the list (again, not counting the 3 legumes); and thus, the birth of this series of recipes. When I first posted the Stuffed Zucchini 2 Ways, I promised to add two additional posts later on – one for each stuffing option. This post is the first of those two options – the savory, Italian-esque stuffing. Here is the original post for reference.
So with that lengthy introduction out of the way, this recipe’s star ingredient is #29 from the HealthGrove list of top 30 foods – ZUCCHINI! The stuffing features ground turkey breast along with crunchy walnuts, tangy tomatoes and several other veggies and seasonings. It’s super yummy and sure to please.
• 5 medium-large zucchini
• 2 tsp. iodized sea salt, divided
• 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey breast
• 2 Tbsp. organic coconut oil, divided
• 1 cup walnuts, divided
• Nonstick cooking spray (I used Pam nonstick coconut oil spray)
• 2 cans diced tomatoes, well drained (be sure the brand you buy has no added sugar or unapproved additives)
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 4 garlic cloves, minced)
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1 small sweet onion, diced
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 cup instant potato flakes, e.g. Bob’s Red Mill (see note below)+++
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 2 Tbsp. nutrient yeast
• ½ tsp. grated lemon peel (optional)
• ½ tsp. seal salt (optional)
• 2 Tbsp. nutrient yeast (optional)
+++It’s really important to always check the ingredient lists of any products you plan to consume when doing #WHOLE30. Some instant potato flakes contain sulfite preservatives or other additives not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (and which aren’t healthy for us to consume anyway). I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes. Stevia and other sweeteners are also not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any and all #WHOLE30 questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here and other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own WHOLE30 journey or whenever you have questions or need some support (the Facebook and Twitter feeds are tremendous sources of encouragement and support). Also, consider reading the book It Starts with Food prior to attempting a #WHOLE30. The book is chalked full of useful information and helpful tips to make surviving the whole 30 days a whole lot more tolerable (pun intended).
• 9X13″ Baking Dish or 2 – 8” Baking Dishes
• Medium-large sized mixing bowl
• Melon Baller or small spoon
• Potato masher
• Chef’s knife
• Cutting board(s)
• Large nonstick frying pan
1. Wash and dry each zucchini. Transfer to cutting board.
2. Remove stems, and cut each zucchini in half length-wise.
3. Using melon-baller or small pointy spoon, scoop out inside pulp from each zucchini half and place into large bowl.
4. Place hollowed zucchini “boats” into a ziplock freezer bag and store in refrigerator. Place pulp in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt.
Cover and place in refrigerator for at least an hour.
5. When ready to cook, place the zucchini pulp in a large colander and rinse well under running water. Shake colander to remove excess water. Then gently pat pulp dry.
6. Spray a large frying pan with nonstick spray then place on stove over MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT.
7. Add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil to the pan and allow oil to melt. Add ground turkey breast, zucchini pulp and 1 tsp. salt in pan and brown stirring continuously to break up any lumps. You may need to use a potato masher at the end of cooking to ensure the mixture is broken up into small, even chunks that will fit nicely into the boats. (see pic below).
8. Pour turkey mixture into medium-large mixing bowl. Then wash and dry pan to prepare for reuse.
9. Drain canned tomatoes well and add to turkey mixture along with walnuts, garlic, oregano and 1 tsp. salt. Place frying pan over MEDIUM heat and add remaining 1 Tbsp. coconut oil. Heat oil until it melts. Then add pepper and onion. Cook veggies over MEDIUM heat until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent burning (N.B. If you’re lazy, like me, you can save time and cleanup by tossing the peppers, onion and oil into a microwave-safe bowl and nuking on HIGH for 4 minutes. Then proceed as above). Add cooked onions and peppers to turkey/tomato mixture and stir to combine. Next add dry potato flakes, nutrient yeast, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Then test for seasoning, adjusting to taste.
10. Preheat oven to 375° and prepare baking dish (or dishes) by lining with tin foil (for easier cleanup), then spraying lined dish(es) with nonstick coconut oil spray. Remove zucchini “boats” from refrigerator, bag and place into prepared baking dish(es) in a single layer, cut side up.
11. Scoop stuffing mixture into the zucchini boats. You may need to press mixture down firmly with your hands in order to get all mixture into the zucchini boats. It’s okay if they seem overstuffed. Then cover baking dish(es) completely with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven.
12. Bake for 45 minutes at 375°. Then remove baking dish(es) from oven and increase temperature to 400°.
13. While oven temp is increasing, remove foil cover. (At this point, I sprinkled the savory zucchini boats with a mixture of 2 Tbsp. nutrient yeast + 1/2 tsp. each grated lemon peel and sea salt, but that’s totally optional. I didn’t notice it made much difference in terms of flavor. Looked like this (see picture at right) before I put it back in the oven for the final bake.)
14. Once oven temp has reached 400° return uncovered baking dish(es) to oven, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to rest, very loosely covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Makes around 5 servings.
Wisdom for the Day:
~Psalm 127:1-2, of Solomon (English Standard Version)
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to his beloved sleep.
KG’s comment – I love this Psalm from Solomon! It reminds me to refocus on those people and things that really matter instead those little projects and busyness with which I so frequently become preoccupied. Have you been slaving away at anything lately only to find yourself burned out and exhausted with little to no energy left for your family? Perhaps it’s time to take a break and rest. Step away from the projects and rest.
Read more here.
Check out the other recipes in this series:
Easy Cheezy Chicken & Broccoli Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons
Chicken Tri-Almandine Casserole
Quick & Easy Paleo Lemon Garlic Garlic Salad Dressing
Stuffed Zucchini 2 Ways
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