We’re doing something experimental today! I saw this recipe on Pinterest and had the following feelings:
- But I like cheese! 😦
- Hey, this is kind of a mix between stuffed bell peppers and those zucchini fries I like to make…
- OMG I CAN USE PORK RINDS FOR THE BREADCRUMBS…
- I’m going to eat this.
To clarify: pork rinds that only contain “pork skins” or “pork rinds” are what you’d want to look for. I first discovered the use of pork rinds from 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender, regarding a delicious burger recipe with onions dipped in these paleo rind crumbs. Here’s her note (emphasis added):
“Pork rinds, far from being the nutritional anathema many folks assume, are the most nutritious thing in the snack aisle. Among other things, pork rinds are a terrific source of gelatin, which is wonderful for your joints, will do good things for your nails and hair, and is anti-inflammatory. So much for pork rinds being bad for you. Read the label; you want them to contain nothing but ‘pork skins’ or ‘pork rinds.’ Especially avoid any rinds fried in soy or canola oils, or other vegetable oils.” (Carpender, p. 30)
3 oz of pork rinds = 1 c. pork rind bread crumbs. So take that.
- 3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise. I used both zucchini and Mexican squash, so that’s why you see so many options. We didn’t know what we’d like!
- 1 large egg white
- 2/3 c. Italian seasoned pork rind crumbs (make 1 c. of pork rind crumbs, add 1/2 tsp. dried parsley, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. onion powder)
- 1 tbsp. EVOO
- 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- approx. 1 lb. hot Italian pork or chicken sausage (we like ours spicy; the recipe called for sweet)
- 1 c. tomato-basil marinara sauce/sauce of choice (we used Del Grosso’s Fireworks Sauce because we still like it spicy)
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper
OPTIONAL: Using cheese is not strict Paleo, but if the dairy doesn’t hurt you, feel free to use a little! I ended up eating mine with goat cheese on the side.
- 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Use a small spoon to scrape out the insides of each zucchini half. Don’t scrape the zucchini all the way to the skin–just make a deep pocket where you’ll be able to put the stuffing. Save the pulp and chop it.
- In a small bowl, beat egg white and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag, place seasoned breadcrumbs and shake well.
- Dip zucchini “boats” into the egg white mixture with hollowed-side down and then into the bread crumb mixture, one at a time. Place breaded zucchini in baking pan and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs start looking a little brown.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini pulp, onion, garlic, and sausage. Cook together until the onions are softened and the sausage is cooked through. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve to drain excess moisture. Transfer the meat mixture to a medium bowl.
- If you choose to use cheese, mix the cheeses together at this point in a small bowl. Remove two tablespoons of the cheese and set aside. Add the rest of the cheese to the meat mixture, along with the marinara sauce and basil. Add salt and pepper, as desired.
- Divide meat mixture between hollowed out zucchini, filling and mounding into each one. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top and add a few of the breadcrumbs, as well.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until baked through and tender.
- Serve with cauliflower rice, brown rice (if not doing Paleo), or a small salad. I ate mine with just a little goat cheese on the side. 🙂
My husband doesn’t like stuffed bell peppers, but he does like zucchini fries. He loved this. Tastes a little like stuffed pasta shells, made a little sweet by the zucchini. The Mexican squash wasn’t much different than regular zucchini, and it was bigger. You can totally make it sweeter, or substitute flavors to make a southwestern style stuffed zucchini. Options are endless.
Enjoy, and let me know how it turned out for you!