These vegetarian zucchini boats with crumbled paneer, spices and lime juice is full of flavors, gluten-free and low carb. Serve it as a main with some tomato sauce and herbed salsa or serve it as a delectable starter – whichever way you serve it, this is a proper winner!
1 sharp edged spoon / butter knife (to scoop the pulp out of the zucchini)
1 baking dish/ tray
For the zucchini
6smallzucchini (courgettes)(900 to 1000 grams)
water (enough to immerse them)
3teaspoonsneutral or vegetable oil
All the pulp (from scooping the zucchini)(250grams, approximately)
1inch piecefresh ginger
½teaspoonsalt(adjust as per taste)
½teaspooncrushed black pepper
3teaspoonsfresh lime juice
1 and ½teaspoonsground cumin
To serve (optional - use all, any)
colorful cubed sweet peppers
chimichurri sauce / herbed salsa
Prep the zucchini boats
Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add salt to it. The water should be enough to immerse the courgette halves comfortably.
water, 1 teaspoon salt
While the water is coming to a rolling boil, cut the zucchini into half lengthwise (12 halves).
6 small zucchini (courgettes)
With a spoon or butter knife, gently scoop out the pulp from each half. Set the scooped flesh aside (it will become part of the stuffing) and set the 12 courgette “boats” / halves aside.Make sure that you do not accidently poke holes in the skin of the zucchini while doing so. We want the boats to hold their shape and not be punctured.
By this time the water in the pot should have begun to boil. Put the zucchini halves in the boiling water and cook them for 2 minutes.Do not over cook the courgettes. They should be soft and slightly cooked at this stage. They will cook fully in the oven.
Carefully take the zucchini halves out from the water and keep them aside to cool down a bit.
Get the oven ready
Pre heat the oven to 400 F. Grease a baking tray with ½ teaspoon of oil and keep ready.
½ teaspoon oil
Make the stuffing
Take the paneer out of its wrapper and rinse it. Cut into large chunks and then crumble each chunk with your hands. Keep the crumbled paneer aside.You may, if you want a smoother texture, grate the paneer. However, I prefer to just crumble it with my fingers as, in this dish, I like the texture of crumbled paneer more than that of grated paneer.
Chop the zucchini flesh (that you scooped out) finely – to match the size and texture of the crumbled paneer. Set it aside.
Grate or finely mince the ginger. Keep aside.
Squeeze out the juice from lime and keep ready.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the zucchini pulp and fry for about 30 seconds.
3 teaspoons neutral or vegetable oil, All the pulp (from scooping the zucchini)
Add the salt and spices. Fry for another 30 seconds.
1 inch piece fresh ginger, ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper, 1 and ½ teaspoons ground cumin, ½ teaspoon salt
Add the crumbled paneer. Mix well so that all the spices and flavors mix with each other evenly. Fry for 1 minute.
1 block paneer
Add the juice of lime and mix again. The stuffing is ready.
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Now let us assemble the “boats” and bake them
Divide the stuffing into 12 parts. Spread each portion evenly on the courgette half.Make sure to keep all the stuffing inside the rim of the “boat” so that it does not spill. We do not want burnt bits of the filling!
Place the stuffed zucchini in the greased baking dish and bake it in the pre heated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the zucchini are cooked through and the filling top starts to become brown. Keep an eye and make sure that the tops do not burn. Paneer is a delicate cheese and can burn in matter of seconds.
Turn the oven off and let the zucchini boats rest in the hot oven for 5 minutes.
Serve these delicious stuffed zucchini boats on a bed of tomato sauce, topped with cubed colorful peppers and with some herbed salsa or chimichurri. Enjoy!
Which zucchini to use?: I have used the smaller, light green variety. You may use the longer, darker green ones. Just bear in mind that you will either have to increase the quantity of the stuffing than what is mentioned in this recipe.
Paneer: Use fresh paneer. You can either grate it or crumble it with your fingers.
Want to make it vegan?: Just replace the paneer with tofu or vegan cottage cheese. Voila!
Wish to add onion and garlic?: This recipe had no onion and no garlic. You can however add them if you like.
Note: Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients in a database and so this is just an estimate.