Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Zucchini Pizza Deliciousness

I love pizza. Ever since I've found a good gluten free pizza, I can finally enjoy delicious pizza! Yay! But, sometimes I want pizza without the carb binge. (And the gluten free pizza cost. Ouch.) So, I put this together.

(Disclaimer: I am not the genius who came up with this delectable goodness. This is simply my version of an awesome choice for dinner. Or lunch. Or hey, even breakfast.)

Zucchini Pizza! All (Okay, ALMOST) the goodness of real pizza without the crust-laden guilt. This really has a great flavor, and you have the option of cooking the zucchini longer to make them softer, or less to keep them firm and kind of crunchy. This recipe is non-gluten-free husband tested and approved!!!

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb of bulk italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb of shredded mozzarella
1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
1 can tomato sauce
Dried oregano
Fresh garlic or garlic powder
black pepper, to taste
3 medium zucchinis (size is ultimately up to you - I just bought what was at the store. Also, I think if you use 4 you won't have leftovers of the sausage mixture)

1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet. (Side note: I LOVE my knock-off Le Creuset pan I found at Marshalls. Look around - you can get all the ceramic cast iron love without the price!)

2. Add the onion when your sausage is about halfway through cooking. (Add them sooner if you like them softer and later if you like them more firm/crunchy.)

3. While your sausage is cooking, cut your zucchini. First in half, then half again lengthwise. Scoop out the fleshy, seedy inside with a spoon to make room for your filling!

4. Lay your zucchini on a lined pan, scooped side up. You can line your pan with aluminum foil or a silicon baking mat. (Another kitchen tool that is totally worth it, in my opinion!)

5. Once the sausage is completely browned and the onions start to soften, add both cans of tomato product. 
6. Stir well, then add about 2-3 tablespoons of dried oregano (less if it's fresh), and 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder or fresh garlic.
7. Allow the sausage/tomato mixture to simmer and reduce until it's thick on medium low heat, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn't burn. This will take about 20-30 minutes. You can wait to cut and scoop out your zucchini until this step. About 15 minutes into this step, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Once your sausage/tomato mixture is completely reduced, turn off the heat and cover. Place the zucchini in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes to precook. (You can do this while this sausage mixture is cooking, but I have a hard time with the timing so I do these 2 steps separately. Remember, cooking is an organic, fun and messy thing.... don't over think it. You can mess up a little, and it will turn out fine. I promise.)
9. After the zucchini has cooked for 10 minutes, take it out of the oven and get ready to create your masterpiece! Using a teaspoon, scoop the sausage mixture into the zucchini "boats." You can be as generous or as stingy as you'd like with the filling. I usually end up with leftovers, so don't worry if you have some left!

10. Once all your zucchini are filled with the sausage mixture, sprinkle the cheese over the top. We like cheese around our house, but you can place as much or as little as you'd  like on top.

11. Place the completed zucchini boats in the oven for 15-30 minutes, depending on how soft you'd like your zucchini and how brown you want your cheese.
12. Enjoy!! We ate ours with roasted cauliflower (chopped cauliflower with olive or coconut oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder cooked at 375 for about 40 minutes. I put the cauliflower in when I put the zucchini in the oven to precook, and leave it in while I prepare the pizzas. You can cook broccoli in the same way. Our favorite in the Shmat household!) Sorry for the lack of pictures of the finished product... we were far too hungry! Picture mini pizzas with a green bottom.... Yum!

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