Zucchini Stuffed with Quinoa and Ricotta Recipe

Stuffed zucchini

“Man, I’m stuffed!” said the zucchini.

Tonight, Laurence and Marie-Laure are coming for dinner, and as a main dish, I will serve them Quinoa Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini.

Those small round zucchinis had caught my eye in the sidewalk stall of our produce store and I immediately saw, in blinking letters : “stuffed zucchini!”. I got nine of them as there would be three of us, three always being a good number of items to have on a plate.

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I started out by cutting off each of their cute little hats neatly (reserving them of course), then scooped out the flesh, being careful not to rip the skin, with a melon baller.

Let me stop for a second here and tell you about my OXO melon baller : I bought it at Whole Foods in Cupertino, CA, about two years ago, and I don’t have the faintest idea why, since I don’t remember having ever felt the need for a melon balling apparatus before, but I guess it just stroke me as neat in the store. These things seem to happen. I did use it for the first time this summer (to ball melons, of all things), and did find that it worked beautifully! It’s pretty sharp, like a little rounded knife. Neat.

I placed the hollow zucchinis in a baking dish, sprinkled them with salt and baked them in a hot oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime, I sauteed the zucchini flesh with garlic and herbes de provence, cooked 175 g of quinoa and toasted about 3 tablespoons of pinenuts in a dry skillet (watch these very closely, they burn fast. Here’s a tip : if it starts smelling good, it’s too late). When all that was ready, I mashed the zucchini flesh in a colander, draining it as well as I could (amazing how much water you get). In a medium bowl, I mixed the zucchini, the quinoa, the pinenuts, half a cup of ricotta and a generous tablespoon of pesto (to be very accurate, I used “pistou des Alpilles”, which is the Provence [south of France] version of Italian pesto. My parents got me a jar of this, as well as a jar of green tapenade, the last time they visited the family we have there).

I then proceeded to fill the zucchini shells with this mixture, and was pretty astonished to see that I had almost exactly the right amount of stuffing (just an extra tablespoon or two). Isn’t that creepy? That normally never happens, right? Kind of like when you dig a grave, and there’s never enough dirt to fill it back in? OK, sorry, weird comparison, must have read that somewhere. Anyhow, my zucchinis were stuffed to the brim, and I put the lids back on. I did try to return its own hat to each zucchini, but they had gotten mixed up, and I figured they don’t really care, now, do they? Do they, you think?

And now they’re ready to go back into the oven when my friends get here. I’ll put them in for about 20 more minutes, just to warm them up, and serve with a green salad and a hazelnut vinaigrette…

Update the next day : they were very good! Marie-Laure and Laurence enjoyed them very much, and said “c’est vraiment délicieux!“.

More zucchini pictures : group picture and a perfectly shaped one.

  • haide

    wow, the group picture is really very pretty. so green and round and shiny!

    i came across your site through a random web search… must have been something like ‘foodie blog’… it’s great! clean lines, with only one photo at the top so i can read it at work :o)

    and all these people who are eating one meal adn obsess and fantasise about the next! feel very at home. love thinking about good food (and eating it of course).

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Haide – I’m delighted you like C&Z, stick around, make yourself at home, it’s good to have you here! :)

  • Erin

    I have never used my melon baller for melon. It does not work for scooping out truffles.

  • http://www.nobody-knows-anything.com Diane Patterson

    I have never seen such cute zucchini before! How come we don’t get cute zucchini like that? I’m sure many more people would eat zucchini if it were cuter…

    It would be a little tough to scoop out the innards of the long zucchini we have here. Any suggestions for how to work around that problem?

    (I’m in Silicon Valley by the way!)

  • a

    there’s an italian tool just to scoop out the insides of long zucchini.

  • http://www.earth.li/~kake/ Kake

    Diane: I use a teaspoon to scoop out the insides of the long zucchini.

  • jude

    Am new here, having been turned on by SF Bay Area food writer, Pat Fusco. Love the site. These stuffed zucchini bring back a sweet memory of living in Italy and throwing parties on a shoestring; sometimes the whole menu was stuffed baby zucchini & eggplant and real pumpkin-y squash pies with whipped cream…and LOTS of wine. (You can tell what I do for a living from my email address!)

  • http://www.coimbatorecity.com Covai

    Ya that’s true I had never seen such a zucchini, but there I Found some thing beyond that Rasagulla a ball made of milk ingredients dipped in the sugar cream. An amazing dessert in every ones and give an everlasting taste…….

  • nutellawunder

    Those zucchini were actually what made me hooked to the site! I have seldomly had so much fun reading a recepie and it has given me such an urge to try it, that I ran around, found the zucchini, bought a melon baller and tried the whole thing! It was sooo good, that I went back to the Marché d’Aligre, ordered more, and will try them on my guests tomorrow night! Thank you so much for such a good dinner!


  • Liesbet

    Hello, I just tried out this recipe and it was delicious. I had to replace the ricotta by “queso fresco”, as there was no ricotta in the supermarket today (although there usually is)and I used baby zucchini instead of the round ones, but it worked out perfectly. And as it looks so nice to serve, perfectly suited when you invite people as well! Perfect combination of something from here (the quinoa, I’m in Lima, Peru) with a typical european thing like pesto.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Wonderful to hear, thanks for reporting back!

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