Pizza-Stuffed Zucchiniwith 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!
This meal has 31 reviews
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.
Great weeknight dinner! Fun and healthy alternative to lasagna.
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.
This was really tasty and comforting on a cold day! I bought the biggest zucchini I could find, and was able to fit most of the filling in. I also mixed the mushrooms and peppers into the sausage and tomato sauce to make filling a bit easier.
Cut up zucchini, salted it, let sit for 10 minutes and pressed it to get rid of moisture, then roasted it for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I cooked sausage and set aside, then sautéed onion, garlic, pepper and mushroom (until mushrooms were browned), then I added fire roasted crushed tomatoes and stirred it all up until heated. Then I added it on top of the roasted zucchini with some cheese (totally not paleo) and put it back in the oven until melted and ate it. It was delish.
Yummy but there was way too much filling.