with Italian sausage / mozzarella / bell peppers / mushrooms
Inspired by the flavors of pizza (but with far fewer carbs), zucchini makes a sturdy shell for a filling of Italian sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella. This recipe got great reviews when first featured in 2016. Check out this video for tips on prepping the zucchini (this features a slightly different version of the recipe).
Smarts: If you like some spice, use spicy sausage, or top the baked zucchini with red pepper flakes.
- Bell peppers, any color - 1, diced
- Mushrooms, any button (look for pre-sliced to save time) - 6 oz, sliced
- Cheese, fresh mozzarella (sub pre-shredded mozzarella if preferred) - 6 oz, sliced
- Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
- Zucchini, medium - 4, halved
- Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
- Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Italian sausage (sub any variety loose sausage) - 16 oz
- Tomatoes, crushed - 2 cups
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
- Bell peppers / Mushrooms / Cheese / Garlic - Prep as directed (if you bought pre-sliced mushrooms or cheese, those won’t need any prep) and store in separate containers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Zucchini - Slice in half lengthwise and then use a spoon to scoop out the center of each zucchini half, leaving ~1/2” / 1.25 cm thick shell on all sides (discard the center you scoop out or save it for another purpose). Check out this video. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Heat oven to 400F / 204C.
- While oven heats, brush a sheet pan with some cooking oil. Place zucchini halves on pan, cut-side facing up.
- Whisk together olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Brush onto cut-side of zucchini halves.
- Transfer pan to heated oven and bake until zucchini halves are starting to turn tender and golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
- While zucchini cooks, heat a saucepan with first part of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add bell peppers with a pinch of salt and continue to saute until peppers are tender, ~2 minutes more.
- Set vegetables aside and return pan to heat.
- Add second part of cooking oil and then sausage to heated oil. Saute sausage until browned, breaking it apart as it cooks, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Drain any excess liquid from pan. Add tomatoes to sausage and simmer until sauce thickens, ~2 minutes more. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Remove zucchini halves from oven and turn on the oven’s broiler.
- Fill zucchini with sauce and top with peppers, mushrooms, and cheese (or set out toppings and let everyone top their own). Return pan to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, ~3 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately. Top with red pepper flakes if you’d like. Enjoy!
Tasty! We adjusted cook time for the zucchini shells since some of them were quite large. Used 1/2 the oil.0 Helpful
Zucchini might need to be cooked longer, it was pretty tough, after being cooked twice.0 Helpful
The other time i made it, it was GF. I wasn't sure I would like it without the cheese, but I did!0 Helpful
This was a creative way to eat the ingredients that would’ve otherwise just gone into a spaghetti sauce. I have no idea how this would be called make ahead or freezer friendly though.0 Helpful
Great weeknight dinner! Fun and healthy alternative to lasagna.0 Helpful
Skipped the peppers. Used the zucchini innards at the same step as the peppers would have been added. Didn't take the veggies out of the pan but added sausage (get good sausage as that's where majority of the flavor came from). I only had a huge can of crushed tomatoes so used a can of diced + tomato paste. Mashed the tomatoes with potato masher.0 Helpful