It’s that time of the year when I start to see plenty of photos pop up on social media of friends who are overrun with fresh zucchini from their garden. As someone who has a major black thumb and can barely keep simple herbs alive, I must admit that I am always slightly jealous of all that overabundance of zucchini! Now that’s a problem I wouldn’t mind having. To make up for my lack of a flourishing vegetable garden, I tend to buy copious amounts of zucchini each week at the grocery store. It makes me feel like I’m in the same boat.
So whether you have too much zucchini from your garden or go a little crazy while food shopping, these caprese stuffed zucchini are the perfect way to put your supply to good use. Hollowed out zucchini halves are baked until tender and then stuffed with a mixture of couscous and classic caprese components: tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The zucchini are popped back into the oven just until the cheese is melted, and then finished off with a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze. The combination makes for a nice light meal or a great summer side dish.
The cook time for the zucchini will vary slightly based upon their exact size and your personal preference. I like my zucchini tender but still a touch crisp, while my husband prefers them super soft. You can adjust the bake time as needed to get them to your liking. You can also play around with the amount of mozzarella cheese, adding more or less as desired.
As for the filling, if your cherry tomatoes are on the large size, go ahead and quarter them instead of halving. This will help distribute the tomatoes more evenly throughout the mixture.
For the zucchini:
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon or melon baller to hollow out the centers. Discard the flesh or save for another use. Lightly brush the zucchini with olive oil, then place cut side up on a baking dish or sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven, then turn on the broiler.
For the filling:
- While the zucchini is baking, add the broth to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, then add to a medium bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- To the bowl, add in the garlic, tomatoes, ¼ cup of the basil, the olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Scoop some of the filling into each of the baked zucchini. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the mozzarella. Return to the oven and broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the remaining basil and drizzle generously with balsamic glaze.