I’m really loving this idea of using zucchini strips like noodles.
If you’ve never heard of zucchini strips, it’s when you use a mandolin or vegetable peeler on a zucchini and turn it into flat strips. It’s awesome. Perhaps I’m easily amused or maybe I missed out on the “zoodles” craze. Either way, I want to make all the things with zucchini strips now.
Recently I made zucchini ravioli which was so delicious. My husband liked it too but he felt it was lacking in meat. While I do like meat, I’m completely content (and most often prefer) vegetarian dishes. This meal combines both of our interests. The spicy sausage adds the meat that my husband is looking for and I can take as much (or as little) of it as I want with the stuffed zucchini.
You can use chicken or turkey sausage or ground beef instead of spicy sausage. However, I do think that the spiciness from the sausage takes the flavor up a notch in this dish because the rolled zucchini on their own aren’t flavorful. I don’t mind the rolled zucchini by themselves but I can’t deny that the sausage adds somethings to it.
The stuffed zucchini is like involtini or manicotti. Cool, right? I think so. I stuffed them with mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and parsley. They are not hard to make. You just need a little practice with the vegetable peeler and the patience to lay them out carefully when you start.
Peel and roll. Easy peezy. Before you know it you’ll become an expert at peeling a zucchini and wonder what other recipes you can use them in. I know that’s what I’m thinking. Although, I’m not sure that I’m exactly an expert. 😉
Spicy Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
(Makes 6 servings)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 10 ounces spicy Italian sausage (equivalent to 3 sausage links with the casing removed)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 and 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used low fat.)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided per the directions
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and set aside a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat on the stove.
- Add the sausage and cook it until it’s done cooking through. Make sure to use a spoon to break up the sausage into crumbles.
- Mix in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and reduce the heat to low/simmer. Cook it for about 10 minutes.
- Taste the meat sauce and add more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Spread the sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish and set it aside.
- Slice the ends off of the zucchini. Then lengthwise, use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini into thin flat strips (like lasagna noodles). The first couple slices will probably be just skin and you can discard those. Continue to slice the zucchini to get as many slices as you can. Move on to the next zucchini.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and parsley.
- To assemble the stuffed zucchini:
- Lay 2 strips of zucchini noodles lengthwise so that they overlap each other slightly.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of cheese filling onto the end of the zucchini.
- Roll the zucchini, starting from the cheese end.
- Place the zucchini roll seam side down on top of the meat sauce that’s in the baking dish.
- Repeat until you have no zucchini left. I got about 12.
- Dollop the remaining ricotta mixture throughout the top of the zucchini rolls and meat sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top.
Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest