I promised to talk about utilizing pastured proteins in an appropriate health-concious way, and so today I would like to introduce you to the virtues of Italian Sausage! Drumroll please…. Meet Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini accompanied by a sensational Summer Salad!
Mind you, we all have our own ideas about healthy eating, and there are so many different opinions and studies and protocols suggested. BUT I DO NOT HESITATE TO SHARE MINE WITH YOU!! Take it for what it is worth to you that I enjoy eating pasture raised animal proteins in moderation, combined with the colorful array of vegetables that are available to us to enhance the meal and my health!
This is a delicious and super healthy meal that is made from such a simple list of ingredients! And literally it can be prepared and to the table in 30 minutes. The best for a weeknight meal, I would say. It also makes a great leftover meal so that you can carry your lunch with you the next day.
To prepare Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini, first begin by cutting the washed zucchini squash in half lengthwise and scooping out the pulp, chopping it roughly along with the other vegetables in preparation for sautéing the stuffing ingredients.
The cooking begins with adding the onions and garlic to the sauté pan first to soften and release their important flavors. Next, add the italian sausage by crumbling into the pan, removing it from the casings, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and fully cooked.
I like to drain the sausage at this point. It provides an opportunity to lighten the meal by removing a lot of the fat that would otherwise wind up in the dish. The flavor is still there, though, believe me!! Remember, we are using pasture raised pork italian sausage, and it contains so much less fat than what you would find from conventional sources. The fat is healthier, too! You can really taste, see and smell the difference. I find it astonishing.
After the sausage is drained, we reintroduce it to the pan, along with the remaining ingredients – garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped zucchini pulp. Stir occasionally while the flavors combine, then when light caramelization begins to occur, remove from the heat and add fresh herbs and seasonings for the final adjustment before the dish is assembled and finished in the oven.
This deliciousness is spooned back into the zucchini boats, heaping it on until you have lovely mounded stuffed cucurbits. The final step for this meal is to add a generous portion of goat cheese to the top of the stuffed zucchini, then place the dish in a 350 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes.
When you place this dish from the oven to the table, accompanied by that simple summer salad packed with fresh veggies, you will enjoy the response for sure – the wow, followed by the quiet that settles over the table as the enjoyment of everyone else begins.
We plan to continue to raise our turkeys on the farm, even when not preparing for Thanksgiving season, so that we may offer ground turkey to you through out the year. I hope you find this as exciting as we do!! Here is a picture of the Heritage Bronze Breasted turkeys we are raising for Thanksgiving this year at 1 week old! It is amazing how beautiful they are and how quickly they change and grow. My , my, how time flies! Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!
Zucchini Stuffed w/ Italian Sausage, Chickpeas and Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 4 Medium Zucchini Squash (halved, lengthwise)
- 1/2lb Italian Sausage (preferable pasture raised, local)
- 6oz Chickpeas (one half can, drained)
- 1/2 Yellow Onion (diced)
- 1 Garlic clove (minced)
- 1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in olive oil (diced)
- 4oz Goat Cheese (crumbled)
- 2 heaped tablespoons Fresh Italian flat leaf Parsley (roughly chopped)
- salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste)
|Halve the Zucchini, lengthwise|
|Scoop out pulp with a spoon, then dice the pulp for sautéing.|
|Add diced onion and minced fresh garlic to a warm sauté pan with a small amount of organic olive oil. Cook slowly until edges of onions begin to become golden.|
|Remove these ingredients from the pan and add the remaining chopped vegetables. Cook until edges begin to show the slightest feathering.|
|Scoop the sautéed and cooked mixture into the zucchini boats. |
Top with crumbled goat cheese and bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes!