Sick of mushy zucchini? Turn on your grill (or oven), print this farro mushroom bacon kale stuffed zucchini recipe, and make your way to Tender-Crisp Town!
Calling all zucchini lovers: this is your next stuffed zucchini recipe, because farro mushroom bacon kale stuffed zucchini, you feeling me? Calling all those who think stuffed zucchini is mushy: it’s so completely not! Or at the very least, it doesn’t have to be. Can zucchini become mushy when it’s cooked too long? Yes, been there, done that, guilty as charged. But so can broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and basically any other vegetable.
But the moisture! What about all that d@mn moisture? We can take care of that too. Full disclosure: I’m a zucchini-loving fool when cooked right, but I’m also a zucchini-cursing fool when we enter mush territory. So, once I find the golden ticket to tender-crisp town, I do not look back. I just keep dreaming up more and more ways to stuff these perfect crisp-tender veggie vessels, because really, the stuffing is the star here.
And this stuffing is a Mary Katherine Gallagher-sized superstar. It’s basically like a risotto, but since we’re using farro, and farro does not release starch like rice, there is no need to constantly monitor and stir. It’s an earthy, smoky superstar that’s a bit nutty and oh-so rich. I couldn’t stop eating it before scooping into those perfect crisp-tender veggie vessels, which is OK, because the recipe makes a good deal of stuffing. Because zucchinis range in size, I wanted to make sure the recipe made more than enough. If you have plenty leftover, it reheats really well, so you’re well on your way to another delicious meal later in the week.
Plus, this stuffing is chock full healthy goodness. Farro is an ancient grain that has more fiber than rice and quinoa and is a good source of protein. Although it does contain gluten, it contains lower levels than modern wheat, which may make it more tolerable to those with gluten sensitivity. Mushrooms are low in calories and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. And kale? You probably already know it’s healthy, right? But do you know just how healthy it is? Check out these 26 Science-Backed Health Benefits and try not feeling like a superhero after eating this superstar.
But the stuffing, no matter how big a superstar, will not shine as bright if it’s wrapped in a mushy mess. So, let’s all take a trip to tender-crisp town and never look back.
Directions to Tender-Crisp Town
First Stop: Choosing Zucchini
Choose firm zucchini that are on the smaller side. If all you have is large zucchini because you failed to remove it from garden like this girl often does, that’s cool too! We’re removing those pesky seeds and some of the flesh, so it still works. Plus, fresh trumps size in my book any day. If you’re buying zucchini at the supermarket or farmer’s market, look for prickly hairs on the stem, as they are a sure sign of freshness.
Second Stop: Scooping
Once you’ve halved your zucchini, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and flesh so the walls are about 1/4-inch thick. This not only helps with texture, but also seems to be a great filling-to-zucchini ratio. Toss the seeds and flesh in your favorite muffin recipe, the compost pile, or like we do: give it to your chickens!
Third Stop: Salt
Sprinkle hollowed-out zucchini boats with salt and allow to drain in a colander. Salting the zucchini helps draw out some of the moisture. Blot with paper towel right before grilling or baking to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
Fourth Stop: Grill (or Bake) Before Stuffing
Grill (or bake) empty zucchini boats cut-side down. This way the zucchini starts to cook but some moisture will be evaporated. Then, just fill her up and allow the zucchini to finish cooking as everything heats up and comes together.
Final Destination: Crisp-Tender Town
You’ve reached your final destination, whoop! We’re so glad you’re here. Kick up your feet and have a glass of wine. Pat yourself on the back, relax, stay awhile, and enjoy your delicious farro mushroom bacon kale stuffed zucchini creation, you magical creature, you.
Farro Mushroom Bacon Kale Stuffed Zucchini
- 4 medium zucchinis
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 12 ounces mushrooms shiitake, cremini, etc., chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup pearled faro
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups kale chopped
- 3/4 cup parmesan + more for serving
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Halve each zucchini lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and flesh so that walls are about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and set cut-side down in colander to drain.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until desired crispness. Remove bacon with slotted spoon; set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease.
- Add olive oil and sauté onion until translucent, 3–5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until soft.
- Add garlic and farro, stirring, another 3–5 minutes. Add wine to mixture and cook until mostly absorbed.
- Add stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, much of the moisture should be absorbed, but still saucy. Add kale and cook for another 1–2 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add parmesan, reserved bacon, thyme, and parsley and stir until combined; set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat grill over medium-high heat, aiming for 400 degrees.*
- Remove zucchinis from colander and blot any moisture with paper towel. Add pepper to zucchini boats.
- Once grill has preheated, place zucchinis on grill cut-side down. Close lid and grill for about 7 minutes, aiming to maintain temperature around 400 degrees.
- Remove zucchini from grill. Place zucchini cut-side up on a large cookie sheet. Scoop filling mixture into into zucchini boats. Remove zucchinis from pan and return to grill and cook for 5–6 minutes.
- Remove from grill. Allow to cool slightly. Enjoy!