|Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice, Black Beans, Green Chiles, and Cheese for Meatless Monday!|
My garden is still supplying me with zucchini at a pretty regular pace, so recently I decided a new version of stuffed zucchini should be on the menu. I had some Cotija cheese that was left from a dish my brother Rand had made when he was visiting, so I guess that's what inspired me to go with a Mexican-themed version of stuffed zucchini this time. If you're not familiar with it, Cotija is a type of hard, crumbly Mexican cheese. It made a nice topping for these Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchinis with Brown Rice, Black Beans, Green Chiles, and Cheese, but if you don't have it you could use Parmesan, Feta, and or even a little more of the cheese blend that's used in the stuffing.
I used some of those adorable little round 8-Ball Zucchinis that I love so much, but if you don't have those, use a larger zucchini cut in chunks and then scooped out to make zucchini "cups." The first time I made these the cheese got too brown and the zucchini wasn't quite as tender as I wanted it, so Jake and I came up with the idea of cooking the stuffed zucchinis covered for the first 20 minutes and then taking the foil off for another 30 minutes cooking time. That time we thought they were perfect, and just right for a Meatless Monday meal! (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch. For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)
Drain a can of black beans into a colander, rinse with cold water, and let them drain while you prep the zucchini.
Use a small sharp spoon or a melon baller to scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a thin layer of zucchini flesh next to the skin. (I didn't use the zucchini pulp that I scooped out, but you could use it if you were short on rice.)
To make the filling, mix together cooked brown rice, sour cream, sliced green onions, black beans, low-fat Mexican cheese blend, and green chiles. You can add a little Green Tabasco Sauce if you want to make it a bit spicier. (We did.)
Use a spoon to fill with zucchini with the stuffing mixture, pressing it down so it's tightly filling the inside of the zucchini.
Then remove the foil and use a spoon to press about a few teaspoons of Cotija cheese (or other cheese of your choice) on to the top of the zucchini.
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
8 small or 6 medium-sized 8-Ball zucchinis (or use larger long zucchinis, cut in 3 inch lengths and hollowed out to make zucchini "cups")
about 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (or other grated cheese of your choice)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles, drained (Anaheim chiles, not jalapenos)
2 cups cooked brown or white long-grain rice (use brown rice or Uncle Ben's Converted Rice for South Beach Diet)
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 cup low-fat Mexican 4-Cheese blend
1-2 T Green Tabasco Sauce (optional; taste the filling and see if you'd like a little more heat)
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spray a baking dish with olive oil or nonstick spray. (Use a dish that holds the zucchini without letting them move around too much if you can.)
Drain the black beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears. Let the beans drain while you prepare the zucchini. If you don't have enough 8-Ball zucchini, cut a large long zucchini into 3 inch lengths. Then use a melon baller or a sharp spoon to scoop out the inside of the zucchini, leaving a thin layer of flesh next to the skin. Slice green onions and drain the can of diced green chiles.
Blot the beans dry with paper towels if they are still wet. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the black beans, sliced green onions, diced green chiles, cooked rice, sour cream, and low-fat cheese. Gently mix to combine, then taste the mixture and see if you want to add the optional Green Tabasco Sauce. (We did, but we weren't making it for kids.)
Arrange the zucchini in the baking pan. Use a spoon to fill each zucchini ball or cup with the stuffing mixture, pressing it down so the inside of the zucchini is tightly packed with stuffing. Cover the dish and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, take zucchini out of the oven, remove the foil, and use a spoon to carefully press about 2 tsp. crumbled Cotija cheese (or other cheese of your choice) on to the top of each zucchini. Put the zucchinis back into the oven and cook about 30 minutes more, or until zucchini is tender, stuffing is bubbling hot, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Serve hot.
These will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two and they can be reheated in the microwave or in a toaster oven.
South Beach Suggestions:
As long as you use brown rice or Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, light sour cream, and low-fat cheese, this recipe would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Meatless Ideas with Zucchini:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Gluten-Free Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Zucchini from The WHOLE Gang
Val's Kid Friendly Broiled Zucchini with Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan from Cookin' Canuck
Zucchini Bake with Feta and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Zucchini Gratin from Gluten Free Goddess
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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