Lake Isle Press

Zucchini with Farro, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Stuffing

Walnuts echo the nutty wholesomeness of the grain, while goat cheese adds a tangy richness. An unexpected and healthy twist on the classic stuffed vegetable.

Zucchini with Farro, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Stuffing

Ingredients

  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • 4 large zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots or half a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and broken into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or semisoft sheep's milk cheese (feta is fine)
  • 2 cups prepared or homemade marinara sauce

Directions

Combine 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil.  Add the farro, adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the farro is cooking, cut off and discard both ends of the zucchini; halve the zucchini lengthwise.  Fill a large, broad saucepan with 1 inch water and bring to a simmer; lay the zucchini halves flat in a steamer insert and place over the simmering water; cover and steam until a knife penetrates easily, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board or other work surface.  Cool until they can be handled.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  With a spoon, scoop out the zucchini pulp, leaving shells about 1/2 inch thick.  Sprinkle the shells lightly with salt.  Roughly chop the pulp.

Melt the butter with olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Saute the shallots until golden.  Add the zucchini pulp and cook briefly.  Add the farro, walnuts, and thyme.  Season with more salt, if needed, and pepper.  Fold in the goat cheese.

Spread the marinara sauce over the bottom of a large rectangular casserole dish.  Spoon some of the farro-goat cheese mixture into a zucchini shell, pressing lightly so that more can be mounded on top.  Place it in the casserole dish and repeat with the other shells.

Bake the stuffed zucchini until heated through and lightly browned on top.  Spoon some of the marinara sauce onto dinner plates or shallow soup bowls, tilting to spread it out; lay 2 zucchini on top of each.  Serve with crusty whole-grain bread, if you like.

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