Easy baked French round zucchini stuffed with minced meat (Courgette ronde farcie à la viande hachée) – rich in flavor, kid-friendly and perfect for feeding a crowd. Meal-prep and variation ideas included.
COOKING ROUND ZUCCHINI
Origin of round zucchini: Round zucchini (or courgettes) are a variation of zucchini ( also known as summer squash). They are grown in various countries under different names (‘’ Ronde de Nice’’ in France and ‘’ Tondo di Piacenza’’ in Italy). Later they were also cultivated in the United States.
Nutritional Benefits: As any type of zucchini these round courgettes offer numerous health benefits such as improved digestion (due to high fiber and water content), reducing inflammation (rich in antioxidants). On top they are super tasty and versatile to prepare. 1000 birds one stone kind of thing.
How to cut round zucchini: The options are endless (or near to it), depending what type of meal you are preparing. Round zucchini are perfect for grilling. Simply start by cutting off the stem ends and blossom ends with knife. Then cut courgettes in cylinders of desired thickness (the thinner, the crispier they get). For below recipe (stuffed courgettes) cut off the stem only, then to make two-circle slices, cut in two either horizontally or vertically. Then scoop out the inner flesh and follow directions. If you want to keep the top and make small stuffed zucchini ‘bombs’ as my 2 year old calls them sometimes, just cut off the top of courgettes, then scoop out and proceed as usual. Before baking in the oven, put the tops over and bake as usual.
Herbs: if you do not have fresh /frozen dill & basil, substitute with Herbs de Provence.
Stuffing: Vegetables used for stuffing can be substituted according to personal taste / leftovers in the fridge. For example you can add carrots, green bell peppers and even tomatoes.
Oils: Olive oil can be substituted for canola oil, avocado oil or butter.
What I love about stuffed vegetables is that you can prepare stuffing in advance (by omitting to add zucchini flesh to stuffing), refrigerate in air tight container (up to 48h) or even freeze. Depending on method chosen, prepare stuffing then fill in hallowed & pre-backed zucchini rounds and serve immediately.
What to do with extra zucchini flesh? Cut in cubes and freeze for future meals or add to soups ( like our easy weekday creamy tuna soup). Mmm, yum!
MORE DELICIOUS MEALS TO COOK TONIGHT:
Lazy Greek Stuffed Eggplant (check recipe here)
Greek Zucchini fritters (check recipe here)
Black rice garlic shrimp risotto (check recipe here)
Skinny Honey Glazed Carrots (check recipe here)
Vegetarian Quiche with oatmeal crust (check recipe here)
Easy Moussaka – Balkan Style (check recipe here)
Mediterranean mushrooms with herbs (check recipe here)
Easy Stuffed Mushrooms (check recipe here)
French Stuffed & Baked Round Zucchini
- 5 round zucchini, hallowed and cut in half
- 2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 2 tbsp minced fresh dill, heaping
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of salt, to taste
- 18 oz (1 pound/500) minced meat
- Zucchini flesh from hallowed zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 onion head, large
- 1 bell red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dill minced
- 1 tbsp basil leaves, minced fresh
- 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning, or salt & black pepper to taste
- Wash zucchini under cold water, cut out bottoms and cut in half. Then hallow out to approx.. ¼ inch flesh rim (the thinner, the better) - using knife or spoon. Set aside zucchini flesh for stuffing or alternatively cut in cubes and freeze for future use.
- In a small bowl combine olive oil, garlic, dill and salt and mix well. Then brush zucchini halves with the mix using cooking brush.
- Place zucchini on baking paper / non-stick surface and bake in preheated oven until almost cooked (200C/400F). Check regularly with fork. In the meantime move to prepare stuffing.
- In large stove pan / saucepot place olive oil and minced meat. Sauté until meat changes color while stirring frequently to prevent stacks (approx.5 min).
- Then add chopped zucchini flesh, onion, red bell pepper, dill, basil, seasoning and herbs and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer until almost cooked (approx. 15 min). Add a little bit of water if needed to prevent burning.
- Once stuffing is cooked, fill in each zucchini round with it (heaping). If stuffing seems ‘’water-y’ – that’s even better - that way meal will not get dry when placed in the oven.
- Place stuffed zucchini in baking dish and bake until top stuffing gets crispy (approx. 10 min) on the oven on 200C/400F.
- Serve immediately or while still warm.
- OPTIONAL: Sprinkle with shredded grana Padano cheese while still hot/warm.