My husband? He’s pretty amazing. Sensitive. Kind. Strong. Intelligent. Nearly the whole shebang, that Nickyboy is. But a zucchini lover he is not…it’s the texture. I can let the toilet seat thing go. The all-too-often-frat-house-vibe I get from living with him, fine, I’ll get over it (please, just put the toilet seat down. And the toothpaste…just clean the remains out of the sink before you finish!) But the lack of love for a little tiny thing called ‘summer squash’ that is very near and dear to my heart? I can’t. I won’t. This is a part of our marriage…for better or for worse. You’ve committed to me? You’ve committed to summer squash. Have I mentioned that he’s passed this turn-your-nose-up mentality of it on to my daughter? Oy vey. I’m in trouble.
I keep trying to make it enjoyable for them. I’ve fried it into chips. I’ve layered it between pasta. I’ve doused it in cheese and damn near covered it in sprinkles. I’ve tried everything. These boats? My first success. Turns out, my marriage will stand the test of time! My guess is because the texture is totally legit…the ‘mushy inside”, as they like to call it, is totally removed..so all you’re left with is a firm, slightly crisp, fresh vehicle to fill with savory, cheesy, gooey goodness.
My kids thought these boats were the coolest because they could pick them up and bite into them (listen, friends, all etiquette goes out the window when we are talking consuming veggies. If they eat them, I keep my mouth shut.) Jude, he was crazy about them. Which is not saying much because, well, lets just say he enjoys consuming the stems of grapes. But Georgia and Nick? Total stamp of approval. “Mom, I like zucchini!” and “okay, this is actually really good” sent me over the moon. It can be done…friends! It can be done!
Parmesan + Goat Cheese Grilled Zucchini Boats
note: I make these on the grill because they are so fast…if you prefer an oven method that will work just fine. Place the boats in a greased baking dish and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.
1 Pound Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
3/4 Cup Prepared Marinara + more for topping (here is my favorite)
4 Medium Zucchini
1/3 Cup Finely Grated Parmesan
4-6 Ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Chopped Basil
Heat large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef or turkey and cook until browned and just cooked through. Drain, if needed. Add 3/4 cup marinara and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
While meat sauce is cooking prepare your zucchini: Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and flesh until there is just about 1/4 inch thick shell or “boat” remaining.
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Divide and spoon the meat mixture among the zucchini boats. Sprinkle meat mixture with parmesan and goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Place boats on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tops begin to bubble and brown and the shell just begins to soften. Serve drizzled with extra marinara and sprinkled with chopped basil. Serves 4+