Today was the first day of school. The official end of summer. The end of setting our own schedule. The beginning of a new chapter for each kiddo—kindergarten and 5th grade. New teachers, new routines, new friends.
I don’t feel ready for the end of summer. I want more camping, more hikes, more lake swimming, more bike riding, more picnic lounging under the pines.
Likewise I am not ready for fall. I don’t want soups and stews, or roasts. This girl is so not ready for apples and pumpkins. More fresh garden veggies, please!
So, in the spirit of late summer vegetables I thought I would post this recipe we made up this summer. The sausage, quinoa, zucchini, onions, and peppers smell and taste of that golden glow of late summer when I want to cherish that last bit of warmth and summer flavor before the frost.
Just the thought of this recipe plants me firmly in my garden because I’ve grown all of these things in my garden in the last two years. (Well, minus the cheese and sausage that is…). Quinoa is fun to grow. Seriously, you should try it sometime if you have a garden.
Although it has sausage in it, this could easily be made into a vegetarian dish by increasing the amount of quinoa, adding some pine nuts and a few additional vegetables like sautéed zucchini and carrots. Oh, and maybe some shredded pepper jack cheese on top…hmm, I’m getting hungry so let’s get on to the recipe, shall we?
Sausage and Quinoa-stuffed Zucchini
1 package Jimmy Dean, or other ground sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices (the one I used was about 4–5 inches thick)
Salt, garlic, cayenne pepper, and paprika to taste (I hesitate to give measurements for spices because I spice things differently depending on who I am cooking for. I add more cayenne when it’s just Mr. A and me, less salt when my in-laws are visiting. Sometimes I throw in nutritional yeast as well.)
Shredded Monterey jack, or parmesan, or pepper jack, whatever strikes your fancy
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
In a large pan on medium heat, cook up the sausage. When it is just barely brown add the onions, peppers, and garlic. Once the sausage is cooked and the onions are translucent, reduce to low heat and add the quinoa and spices. Mix thoroughly.
I take the zucchini slices and hollow out the middle by making an “x” through the seeded part and then cutting out a circle.
Next, take parchment paper and cut out 5×5-inch squares. Place them on a cookie sheet and place one zucchini circle on each. Although it only shows 6 in the picture, I fit 8 onto the cookie sheet I used. (The parchment paper makes transferring the zucchini from cookie sheet to plate a less messy experience.)
Spoon the sausage quinoa mixture into the center of each zucchini. Broil the zucchini approximately 15 minutes on high (10 if you like your zucchini a little firmer). Remove from the oven and top with Monterey jack or parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Serve while enjoying the late afternoon sun🙂