7 Fresh-Flavored Recipes for Stuffed Summer Vegetables

Stuffed vegetables are a delicious way to enjoy all of summer’s fresh flavors. Whether you’re looking for a new way to eat a zucchini, bell pepper, squash, tomato, jalapeño, or onion, these seven recipes put a fun spin on veggies. Enjoy for lunch, dinner, or even a snack, and feel good knowing you’re well on your way to meeting your recommended daily vegetable intake. Who knew you could get so creative with your garden goods?

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1. Italian Stuffed Summer Vegetables

Fresh zucchini, squash, and red bell peppers are the main ingredients in Cooking Light‘s stuffed summer vegetable recipe. The flavorful breadcrumbs provide a tasty texture, and you’ll find the vegetables remain tender and delicate despite being baked. This recipe yields 8 servings and contains 80 calories with 2 grams of fat each.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 2 large yellow squash, halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise (about ½ pound)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 ounces Italian bread
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups chopped, peeled plum tomato
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Discard seeds and membranes from bell pepper. Carefully scoop out squash and zucchini pulp, leaving shells intact. Finely chop pulp; set aside. Place bell pepper halves, squash shells, and zucchini shells, cut sides up, in a 13-by-9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Coat shells with cooking spray. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until crumbs measure 1½ cups. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped pulp and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently.

Add tomato; cook 2 minutes or until tomato begins to soften, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs, ¼ cup cheese, parsley, black pepper, and salt. Divide mixture evenly among prepared bell pepper halves, squash shells, and zucchini shells; sprinkle evenly with ¼ cup cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until shells are tender. Preheat broiler. Remove foil; broil 4 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

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2. Stuffed Jalapenos

Martha Stewart‘s recipe is the perfect appetizer for your summer get togethers. This recipe yields 6 servings, but it can be doubled if you’ve got a large crowd to feed. Prepare for a treat that is bursting with cheesy, jalapeño flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 6 large jalapeños, halved and seeded
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. With a small spoon, fill each jalapeño half with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture. Place peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Eight-Ball Zucchini Stuffed with Rice, Basil, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

A simple yet savory rice mixture enhances the eight-ball zucchini’s flavor, while the sun-dried tomatoes add more zest to this healthy dish. FatFree Vegan Kitchen‘s recipe also calls for basil, creating a stuffed-veggie that is light and fresh. The recipe yields 4 servings, with each containing 150 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eight-ball zucchini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 1¼ cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 1 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 5 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

Directions: Cut zucchini tops off about ¾ inch from the top. Scoop out the insides, being careful to leave a wall about ¼ inch thick on all sides. Steam zucchini and tops for about 8 minutes, until slightly softened. Rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes by soaking them in hot water until softened. Remove from water and chop. Reserve soaking water. Chop the zucchini pulp. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic for about 1 minute.

Add the zucchini pulp and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, brown rice, and almonds, and if the mixture seems dry, add a splash of the tomato liquid. Add the basil leaves, Kalamata olives, and black pepper to taste. Cook until warm, about 3 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a spoon, carefully stuff the rice mixture into the zucchini, mounding slightly on top. Place in an uncovered baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot, covered with tops if desired.

Source: iStock

4. Roasted Stuffed Onions

Red and yellow onions stuffed with bacon, garlic, spinach, and cashews create a dish that is perfect for any time of the year. This Epicurious recipe can easily be adapted for vegetarians, too. Eliminate the bacon, instead using olive oil for sautéing the vegetables, and use vegetable stock in place of the turkey stock.

Ingredients:

  • 10 medium red and yellow onions (4 pounds)
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 ounces baby spinach, trimmed and coarsely chopped (14 cups)
  • 1 (9-inch) round loaf country-style bread (1¼ pound), cut into ½-inch cubes (10 cups), lightly toasted
  • 2 cups salted roasted cashews (10 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¼ cups turkey giblet stock

Directions: To make the onion shells, cut a ½-inch-thick slice from tops of onions, discarding tops, and trim just enough from bottoms for onions to stand upright. Scoop out all but outer 2 or 3 layers from each, using a small ice cream scoop or spoon (don’t worry if you make a hole in the bottom), reserving scooped-out onion and onion shells separately. To make the stuffing, coarsely chop enough scooped-out onion to measure 3 cups.

Cook bacon in 2 batches in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, about 10 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving about ⅓ cup fat in skillet. Add chopped onion, celery, salt, and pepper to skillet and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in spinach, bread, cashews, butter, 1 cup stock, and bacon, then cool completely.

To roast the onions, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange onion shells, open sides up, in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan, then add ½ cup water and cover pan tightly with foil. Roast onions in middle of oven until tender but not falling apart, 25 to 30 minutes. To stuff and bake onions, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer shells to a work surface and pour off water in pan.

Fill shells with stuffing, mounding it, and return to pan. Reserve 5 to 7 cups stuffing for turkey cavity, then put remaining stuffing in a buttered shallow 3½-quart baking dish and drizzle with remaining ¼ cup stock. Bake stuffed onions and stuffing in dish in middle of oven, uncovered, until heated through, about 25 minutes.

Source: iStock

5. Stuffed Eggplant

The Bitten Word has created a dish that uses delicious summer vegetables, lamb, and pleasant seasonings, including cinnamon, nutmeg cloves, and oregano. The recipe yields 6 servings, although you may want to consider doubling it for your next family party. It’s sure to be a hit!

Ingredients:

  • 6 small eggplants (about ¾ or 1 pound each)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • ¾ pound ground beef, pork, or lamb
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2  cups milk
  • 1½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Directions: Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out most of the flesh, leaving a ½ inch-thick eggplant shell; coarsely chop scooped-out flesh and set aside. Working in 2 batches, heat ¼ cup oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant shells and cook, turning once, until browned and just wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer eggplant shells to paper towels; set aside. Discard oil and wipe out skillet.

Heat ¼ cup oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add meat, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved eggplant flesh, tomatoes, wine, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves, and season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set meat sauce aside.

Heat butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add milk and cook, whisking often, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add ¾ cup cheese and egg yolks; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir béchamel until smooth; set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put eggplant shells cut side up in a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle shells with half the remaining cheese and fill each with reserved meat sauce. Spoon béchamel over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until eggplants are tender, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil and cook until béchamel is golden brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes more.

Mark Lyons/Getty Images for HumanaVitality

6. Bulgur-Stuffed Summer Vegetables

Food Network‘s recipe embodies all things summer: fresh vegetables – including bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes – combined with flavorful spices and herbs, such as garlic and tarragon. The easy-to-make dish yields 4 servings and will take about 30 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow)
  • 2 zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bulgur in a heatproof bowl. In a sauce pan, bring the chicken broth and 1½ cups water to a boil. When the liquid has come to a boil, pour over the bulgur. Let sit until the bulgur absorbs the liquid, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. Cut off the top third of the bell peppers. Remove the seeds and ribs, leaving a ‘cup’ for the stuffing. Dice the flesh from the top ⅓ and reserve. Cut a ⅓ of the zucchini lengthwise to reveal the seeds. Scoop out the seeds to create a boat. Dice the remaining ⅓ pieces. Slice the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds to create a cup.

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sweat until translucent. Add the reserved chopped peppers, squash, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the cooked vegetables, if necessary, and add to the cooked bulgur. (Note: You may need to drain the excess liquid from the bowl of bulgur, too.) Stir in the chopped tarragon. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside of the vegetable “cups.” Stuff the vegetables with the bulgur mixture, place in a shallow baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, then bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and melted.

Source: iStock

7. Ricotta-Stuffed Tomatoes

Stitch and Boots‘ ricotta-stuffed tomatoes are simple, sweet, and fresh. The secret ingredient here is the nutmeg, which provides a complex and savory flavor. Not a fan of nutmeg? That’s OK, too! Just leave it out of this dish, which yields 9 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 9 medium summer tomatoes (firm)
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 12 big basil leaves, Julienned
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 shakes nutmeg
  • 15 grinds fresh pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the top of the tomatoes off and hollow them out, being careful not to rip them up. In a big bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients using a fork so that the egg gets broken and mixed in well. Place the tomatoes in a pie dish and fill each one up with the ricotta mixture, making sure to heap it up at the top a little. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, turn your oven broiler on and broil them until the tops turn golden.

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