Zucchini Lasagna with Ground Turkey

AKA, “a compromise.”  It’s no secret how much I love pasta, but sometimes you’ve gotta find a middle ground. This replaces noodles with baked parmesan-dusted zucchini strips (which honestly, I would eat as a snack on their own, because they were fantastic), adds protein with some ground turkey, reheats amazingly well and will keep for a few days, too. It’s a perfect make-ahead meal which you can then just throw into the oven and have it ready in 30-40 minutes flat. AND i used a mandoline for the first time and didn’t slice off one or more of my fingers, so you know, win/win.

– 4 zucchini, mandolined into approx. 1/4 inch flat strips
– 1 lb. ground turkey
– 1 small vidalia onion
– 3 tbsp. EVOO
– 2 cups pasta sauce
– 12 oz. shredded mozzarella
– 2 cups italian breadcrumbs
– 1 cup freshly grated parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Wash the zucchini, then slice it into 1/4 inch flat strips (uniform size). Lay all the zucchini on paper towels, then sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then flip and sprinkle the other side with kosher salt, let that sit for 15 minutes too. This will drain out a ton of water and you won’t end up with soggy zucchini lasagna. 

3. Rinse the salt off the zucchini and dry really well. Coat with a tiny bit of olive oil. 

4. Combine about 1/3 c. parmesan and the bread crumbs.  Coat each slice of zucchini with the breadcrumb mixture, then place in one layer on (a couple of) baking sheets which you’ve sprayed with baking spray. 

5. Bake zucchini for about 30 minutes, flipping once, until golden and fairly crispy.

6. While zucchini is cooking, dice the onion. Cook in 1 tbsp. EVOO until onion is translucent in a large pan over medium heat. Remove onion and set aside, then cook the turkey in the same pan until browned and cooked through. Remove and combine with the onion.

7. In a lasagna pan, dot a bit of sauce to make a thin bottom layer. Place one layer of  zucchini on top of the sauce like you would place noodles, then add a layer of the turkey/onion. Sprinkle mozzarella & parm over the top of this. 

8. Repeat this sequence: sauce, zucchini, turkey/onion, mozz/parm, until you’ve reached the end of the zucchini. Add a little more sauce and the rest of the mozz/parm.

9. Bake, covered, for about 15 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 15 or so, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and golden. 

10. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut and serve, preferably on a table with the gorgeous 2-for-$5 bunches of flowers you got at the farmer’s market.

Chicken stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella

Bren and I got some amazing organic chicken breasts from Hillside, so I used them to make one of my favorite chicken recipes of all time. This is a classic Skinny Taste recipe from way back – I’ve made this a ton, and every time I’m reminded of how much I love it. Instead of a traditional egg wash to adhere the breadcrumbs, a mix of lemon juice and EVOO is used, and honestly, it makes such an amazing difference in flavor. Working with raw chicken always skeeves me out, but I just steel myself, because the end result of this recipe is totally worth it. 

CHICKEN STUFFED WITH ZUCCHINI AND MOZZARELLA (serves 4, recipe adapted from Skinny Taste)
– 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, thinly sliced 
– 2 zucchini, grated (leave skin on, but wash these well before you do!) 
– 1/3 C. shredded mozzarella
– 1/3 C. shredded fresh parmesan
– 3/4 C. seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
– 1 tbsp Herbed Butter
– 4 cloves chopped garlic
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1 tbsp EVOO
– Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
– Olive oil non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Rinse chicken, then arrange everything so you don’t find yourself with chicken-y hands and needing to grab something out of a cupboard.

3. Heat butter over medium. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, approx. 90 seconds.

4. Add shredded zucchini, 1/4 C. shredded fresh parm, and stir to combine. Add a little salt & pepper to taste, then cook for approx 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, add the mozzarella and mix to combine.

5. Add a thin layer of the zucchini/parm/mozz mixture to coat one side of each chicken cutlet (season chicken cutlets first), then roll each cutlet.

6. Dip each rolled chicken cutlet in the lemon/EVOO mix, then in the breadcrumbs/parm mix. Place seam-side down in a baking dish lightly coated with EVOO. When all of these are rolled, lightly spray them each with the olive oil cooking spray (this will make them a little more golden).

7. Bake 25-30 minutes, then enjoy. We had this with my new favorite salad, zucchini ribbons with lemon, basil and toasted almonds.

Moroccan Zucchini and Chickpeas over Couscous

When I lived in Paris, I basically ate one of two things: Moroccan food or a baguette and a hunk of brie. I think it’s only because we walked everywhere that I stayed skinny, but man, I miss that 21 year old metabolism. This zucchini and chickpea blend has enough of that Moroccan spice to it that it makes me feel like I’m back in Paris again – plus it’s delicious, super quick to make and pretty healthy for you, too. AND, it has the bonus of being made with stuff you probably have in your refrigerator right now. LET’S MAKE IT!!

– 1 vidalia onion, sliced
– 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
– 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1.5 cups chicken broth
– 1 cup chunky crushed tomatoes
– 4 diced garlic cloves
– 2 tbsp. lemon juice
– handful chopped parsley
– 1/2 tsp. paprika
– 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
– 1/4 tsp. ground tumeric
– 1 tsp. kosher salt.
– 1 box of couscous, cooked (leave this out if you want to make this gluten-free)

1. In a french oven (ooh, la la) melt the butter.  Cook the onion over medium heat until translucent, approx. 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook approx. 90 seconds, until fragrant. 

3. Add paprika, cumin, oregano & tumeric and cook for 30 seconds.

4. Add broth, tomatoes & salt. Bring to a simmer and  cook, covered for 10 minutes.

5. Add chickpeas & zucchini and cook, covered, until zucchini is just done (approx. 12 minutes longer). Make the couscous during this step so everything’s ready at the same time.

6. Add parsley & lemon juice, season to taste and serve over couscous.
Congrats to everybody who ran the inaugural Scranton Half Marathon this past weekend – what a great day!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon, Toasted Almonds, Basil and Shaved Parm


I honestly couldn’t believe how delicious this was. It’s so light and pretty, the toasted almonds give it that added little crunch and substance, the julienned basil is lovely, and a simple lemon and EVOO dressing brings the whole thing together. Brendan took one bite and said, “I don’t even like raw zucchini, but this is amazing”. Ummm…agreed. I have a feeling I’m going to be making this a lot this summer. 

– 4 medium-large zucchini, shaved into ribbons with a peeler (approx. 1 zucchini per person) 
– 5-6 large leaves basil, julienned 
– ¼ C. toasted almond slices (I like slices instead of slivers, I think the crunch is just enough) 
– Shaved curls of fresh parmesan cheese 
– Juice of ¾ a lemon 
– 1.5 Tbsp. EVOO 
– Kosher Salt & Pepper 

1. Wash the zucchini, then peel into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. I tossed the very first peels that were all green, but kept the rest of them with some green on the sides for a little color. I also stopped when I got down to the seeded middle part, so that the ribbons looked nicer. Add zucchini ribbons to a large bowl. 

2. Squeeze a lemon over the zucchini so that it really soaks in. Add the kosher salt and pepper, then use tongs to gently mix it all together. Let it sit and absorb while you make the rest of the salad. 

3. Bring a small sauté pan to medium heat, then add almond slices. Shake the pan a couple of times and keep a close eye on these so they don’t burn. They should be toasted in 2-3 minutes, tops. Add almonds to the bowl with the zucchini. 

4. Julienne some basil. You can chop it, but the ribbons of basil look so pretty with the ribbons of zucchini. All ribbons, all the time! To julienne, stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them into a little cigar-like shape, then slice from the top down. Throw the basil in with the zucchini and almonds. 

5. Drizzle EVOO over everything, use the tongs to mix together. 

6. Top with some curls of parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Sauteed Zucchini Ribbons with Shallots & Garlic

I’m really looking forward to zucchini season coming around again.  I use it in so many recipes that it makes me sad to see the miniature little organic zucchinis that are available this time of year.  That said, grab a bunch of them, because this is one of the tastiest, most delicate side dishes you can make.

– 5 small or 3 large zucchini
– 2 shallots, sliced into thin moons
– 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
– 1 Tbsp. butter
– Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Wash the zucchini, then peel it.  Even though the skin will be removed, they’ve still grown in the ground and are dirty – so wash them to get rid of anything that’s lingering. With a vegetable peeler, remove the outside layer of the zucchini – the greenest part – and discard.  Then, continue to peel the zucchini into ribbons until you get to the seeds in the middle.  Throw away the “core” of the zucchini, and set aside the ribbons.

2. In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  When melted, add the garlic and shallots, and saute, stirring frequently, approx. 3 minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, then saute until wilted and beginning to color, approx. 5-7 minutes.  If too much brown starts to appear on the bottom of the pan, add 1 tbsp. of water and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits and incorporate them back into the zucchini. Add kosher salt & pepper to taste at the end, so that the zucchini gains some color and doesn’t “sweat” as much.

4. Serve alongside your favorite “main” – I love this with steak, but it works with just about anything.

Zucchini Parmesan

Zucchini season is winding down, so in one of my last zucchini-based recipes of the season, I tried this delicious looking zucchini parm. I don’t know if this necessarily falls under the category of “healthy”, considering the cheese and the sauce, but the coating on the zucchini is nice and light, and this could really be served as a meal instead of a side. We loved it.

ZUCCHINI PARMESAN (serves 4-6 as a side)

– 3 large zucchini, washed and cut into 1/4 inch rounds (leave skin on), or cut into strips. Strips might actually be really nice to make this more of a “lasagna”.
– Sauce, approx. 2 cups
– Mozzarella, approx. 1 & 1/2 cups
– Freshly grated Parmesan, approx. 1/4 cup
– Olive Oil
– Breadcrumbs, 2 cups
– Freshly grated Parmesan – 1/4 cup (added to breadcrumb mixture)
– Kosher Salt
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Cut zucchini into rounds or strips, and place on a cooling rack over a paper towel. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. This draws out the water from the zucchini, so that it bakes a little more crispy, a little less soggy.

3. Look at all the water that’s coming out of these!! Would you ever think?  After about 20 minutes, flip the zucchini rounds/strips, salt the other side, and let sit for another 20 minutes to fully extract as much water as possible. Then, rinse them in a colander and lay them in one layer to dry.

4. When dry, toss zucchini in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. 

5. In a different bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil (Pam makes a decent organic olive oil spray that I use for things like this).

6. Gently press the zucchini rounds/strips into the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. Arrange on the baking sheet. Bake at 375 for approx. 30 minutes, flipping once halfway, until golden brown-ish.
7. Break out your lasagna pan, or just a deeper baking dish. Put a thin coating of sauce over the bottom of the dish, and then place your first layer of zucchini rounds/strips on top of that, overlapping as needed. Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan.

8. Repeat this sequence – sauce, zucchini, mozz/parm, until you’re out of zucchini. Top with a bit of sauce and the last of your shredded cheese, then bake at 375 for approx. 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

9. Remove from oven, let cool a bit, then use a spatula to cut into portions. This actually – surprisingly – reheated remarkably well the next day. The crispier the zucchini, the better!