Baked Italian Zucchini Boats
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A few summers ago, I tried making Baked Italian Zucchini Boats, and it has become one of my go-to side dishes when I want something a little special. Especially for an Italian dinner, but really, it goes well with many dishes. It’s quite pleasing to the eye and is a great way to use up your garden zucchini!
This side dish is easy to make, as well. Plus, it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
Ingredients Needed to Make Italian Zucchini Boats
- fresh garden zucchini (or store-bought)
- muenster cheese (from a block)
- grape tomatoes
- black olives
- garlic powder
- seasoned salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh basil
When to Pick Garden Zucchini
As a girl, I remember my grandma bringing into the house these mammoth-sized zucchini from her garden. They were huge. She would shred or cut them for use in her baking or for freezing.
When I started doing my own shopping for zucchini, I was keen to notice that the zucchini in the stores were much smaller. And more tender. And delicious. I quickly learned that zucchini was not just for baking breads and cakes! They were great for stir-fry, or sliced, and so much more.
Lesson learned: Pick zucchini when it’s 6-10 inches long. A perfect size for tender, yummy dishes. Of course, you can pick it when it’s larger, too. But larger zucchini will have larger seeds in the middle. Also, the more you pick zucchini, the more the plant will produce. Watch for the yellow blooms, and you’ll soon have zucchini to pick.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Using your favorite knife and cutting board, slice the zucchini, grape tomatoes and black olives.
For the cheese, you could grate the muenster cheese, if you want, but I like how the thick slices melted on the zucchini. There are few things better than melted cheese. Yum! If you don’t have any muenster on hand, feel free to substitute another cheese in its place. Mozzarella or Gouda, maybe?
To assemble the “boats” place the zucchini halves on the baking sheet. Top with slices of muenster cheese, halved grape tomatoes, and then the black olives. Sprinkle with garlic powder, seasoned salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Then drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the tops.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the zucchini is crisp-tender. Watch to make sure the cheese doesn’t get too brown. Ah-hem. I’ve had that happen before, much to my displeasure.
Garnish the Baked Italian Zucchini Boats with fresh basil and serve warm. This recipe will make 6-8 boats, but can easily be adapted to suite the number you are entertaining. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Baked Italian Zucchini Boats
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a knife and cutting board, prepare zucchini, tomatoes, and black olives.
- Place halved zucchini on baking sheet. Top with muenster cheese, halved tomatoes and black olives. Sprinkle with garlic powder, seasoned salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is golden brown and zucchini is crisp-tender. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve warm. Makes 6-8 boats.
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