Vegan Italian Zucchini Boats + Homemade Pizza Sauce

It has been way too long since I’ve shared a recipe with you! When I came home in August to visit my family and take a break from being out in the middle of nowhere, I finally had the chance to create a recipe. I really missed my kitchen, I will never take it for granted again! Oh kitchen, how I love you.

Anyways back to these delicious zucchini boats. I’ve seen these over the inter webs before along with every other stuffed vegetable. You have stuffed peppers, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, pumpkin and more. I wanted to make something at home that was a single serving and froze well so I could take it up here and just pop it into the oven when I was hungry. These zucchini boats are low carb, gluten free and vegan while still being high in fiber and protein thanks to the chickpeas. You don’t have to add the pizza sauce (it was randomly in my fridge so I decided to add it in) to the filling but trust me you will want to because it took these boats from great to these-are-so-delicious-I-want-to-eat-it-straight-from-the-pan. I refrained on the last part :).

Vegan Italian Zucchini Boats

2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 minced garlic cloves
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
Half of a yellow pepper diced (that’s all I had, but can easily use a full pepper)
½ cup pizza sauce (recipe below)
1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas
Homemade Pizza Sauce
Adapted from Real House Moms

2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
2 cans tomato paste (6 oz. each)
1 can of water (can of tomato paste)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (to make vegan omit cheese or substitute a vegan alternative)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fennel seed

Directions – Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the oil until it becomes fragrant. Add in the 2 cans of tomato paste, 1 can of water (may need more, judge by thickness), parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, black pepper, bay leaf and fennel seed. Give it a big stir and lit it simmer on low for 30-60 minutes. When it is done remove the bay leaf and let cool if not using right away. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Directions – Zucchini Boats: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Start by washing your zucchini and cut lengthwise so you have 4 zucchini halves. Take a spoon and hollow out each half, being careful not to go through the zucchini. Put the scooped insides into a bowl. Cut up your pepper into bite sized pieces, at this point you also want to chop the zucchini insides and add it to the pepper. In a skillet pour your desired oil, and add the 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté until it becomes fragrant. To the skillet add the pepper/zucchini mixture, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook until the peppers are soft. Add your chickpeas and pizza sauce and cook until the sauce and chickpeas become warm. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the zucchini halves on the sheet. Evenly distribute the mixture into each zucchini boat. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the zucchini is soft and insides are hot. Serve and enjoy!
 If you wanted to make these not vegan you could easily sub the chickpeas for ground turkey, chicken or beef. Personally I think beef would be great because beef is great with all Italian food. And what would kick these up another notch is adding some shredded cheese on top :). I did add some cheddar to mine the other day and it was heavenly. Although I think mozzarella would be even better.
These also freeze well. When the boats have cooled, wrap each one indivdually in tin foil and place in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, bake in the oven from frozen at 400 F until hot. I don’t reccomend letting it thaw out as it became mushy, much easier to do it from frozen. Enjoy!

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