There are many recipes for stuffed zucchini out there and all are universally loved because they are loaded with cheese. This delicious Mexican version, calabacitas rellenas, are easy to make and are especially popular with picky teens. Who can resist melty, cheesy goodness?
When we plan a meal, we tend to choose the protein first and then we choose starches and vegetables after that. These zucchini boats would complement any meat or fish you decide to put on your dinner plate. And if you're vegetarian, they would be a perfect addition to your meal, packing an extra serving of protein on to your menu.
Since my family comes and goes at different times, I like to make a large batch and have it ready to bake, either in the oven or in the microwave. Everyone is happy when there’s food in the fridge and it can be reheated in a jiffy.
Now, I like to think this dish is Mexican. I certainly remember it from my childhood. It was part of our everyday recipe repertoire and we had calabacitas rellenas at least every other week. But depending on the cheese and spice mixture you use, you can add a touch of Italy or perhaps the Middle East - make it yours!
In Mexico, we use Chihuahua or Manchego cheese (or any kind of mild cheese that melts beautifully), and season with Mexican oregano. I like to keep these simple and bake them plain but you could also add chopped tomato and fresh herbs if you want a more colorful dish. And just a note: I prefer to use the small white Mexican calabacitas, as they are usually more tender and have less seeds. If you’re having trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables, make a batch of these zucchini boats and watch them disappear!