Thursday, August 9, 2012

mystical zucchini

I LOVE a good farmers' market. Heck, I even love an average farmers' market.

One Sunday, I decided to traipse up to a little farmers market on the Upper West Side sitting behind the Museum of Natural History. Can we get any cuter?

Why do I love the farmers' markets so much?

1. You find the craziest, newest things.
2. Everything is a normal price and you know exactly who you're giving you're hand earned cashola to
3. Everything is so fresh! I swear you can hear the fruits and veggies still breathing.

But back to point #1. The craziest things...on this particular Sunday, I found yellow plums (cool!) and "eight ball zucchini"...what?! They looked like zucchini...except they were round. Hmmm....I'll have two, please!

I brought them home and let them sit in the fruit bowl for a few days looking quite perplexing and then decided I better use them before I had moldy ex-squash mush balls. Gross.

I decided to stuff them. PERFECT. With a combination of beef-less beef, veggies, some seasoning, and a bit of TLC...I was in vegan, healthy, farmers' market paradise.

PS If you can't find eight ball zucchini, regular ol' zucchini will fare you just fine, you just won't feel nearly as cool.

Vegan Stuffed Eight Ball Zucchini


  • 2 "eight ball" zucchini - or regular ol' zucchini if these aren't available
  • 1 package beefless ground beef
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic,chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional) 
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Dairy free vegan cheese (I used Daiya - Mozzarella flavor)
  • Olive oil spray
  1. Cut the tops off the zucchini and scoop out the inside pulp with a spoon. Kind of like carving a pumpkin, except not as gooey and, therefore, not as fun. Keep the guts!
  2.  In a nonstick pan, soften the garlic, onion and shallot in a bit of EVOO
  3. Once softened, but not brown, add in the beefless beef and the chili pepper (you can use more or less chilis, with or without seeds, depending on how spicy you like it)
  4. Add in the zucchini pulp.
  5. Once well combined, add in the paprika and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and let cook a few minutes for all the flavors to combine.
  6. Stir in the nutritional yeast
  7. Remove from heat and add in the panko (if using)
  8. Spray the insides and outsides of your zucchini shells with a tiny bit of olive oil. Fill half way with the stuffing. Throw in some "cheese". Fill the shells the rest of the way with the stuffing and top with cheese. 
  9. Cook in oven at about 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and shells are soft.
  10. Dig in!

I now understand why they call them eight ball zucchini...these babies were mystical.