“When the cat’s away, the mouse will…” cook? Although being away from each other is never fun, when one of us is out of town, we have the chance to make a meal that the traveler is not fond of. Traditionally, when I’m out of town, Neil goes all out with a shrimp boil. Although I really like shrimp boils, but nothing screams “MAN” more than eating an entire pot of shrimp while watching Terminator 3. When Neil is out of town I make these zucchini boats.

I love this recipe. It’s easy, healthy, and full of flavor. This is a great way to get a nice serving (or three) of vegetables, and the protein from the beans and quinoa won’t leave you hungry.

What do you cook when you have a night to yourself?

Zucchini Boats
Recipe Adapted from Real Simple
Prep Time: 25 min. Cook Time: 30 min.


1/2 cup red quinoa
2 large zucchini
1 cup great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup raw blanched sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400°. Half the zucchini lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Place skin side down in a glass baking dish and set aside.

In a small stock pot, bring 1 cup of water and the quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.

Fill each zucchini half with the mixture, drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until zucchini is fork tender. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Makes 4 large boats