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. If you like a little spice, use spicy sausage, or top the baked zucchini with red pepper flakes. This video shows steps for the original version.
- 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” / 1.25cm 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)
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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, breaking it apart as it cooks until browned, 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!