1cupcheddar cheesegrated + extra for topping if desired
sour creamfor serving, optional
fresh cilantrofor serving, optional
lime wedgesfor serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil. Brush with oil or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut the zucchini lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds in the middle. Try to leave about ¼-inch of flesh around the outside of the zucchini so they have some structure to them. Discard the scooped zucchini. Place the zucchini on the prepared sheet pan with an inch or two between each other.To make the zucchini lay flat so they won’t rock back and forth on the baking sheet, simply cut a small sliver of skin off of the bottom of the boats, being careful not to cut too much of the flesh of the zucchini.
In a medium skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers to the pan and cook until they are soft; about 5 to 10 minutes. Season the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper. The salt helps to break down the vegetables and helps them to soften.
When the onions and peppers are soft, add in the beans, cumin and chili powder to the skillet. The beans will be very thick at first but they will loosen up as they get warmer. Stir the mixture together constantly until the beans are warmed through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Next, add in the salsa and stir well to combine, until warmed through. Then, turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese.
Divide the bean filling among the zucchini boats on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet of zucchini boats inside the preheated oven.
Bake the zucchini boats approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until the zucchini are fork-tender but still has some structure to them. Cooking too long will turn mushy. You actually want them to have a slight crunch to them.
When the zucchini are tender, remove the sheet pan from the oven. If desired, top the zucchini boats with more cheese and return them to the oven for two more minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Serve the meatless Mexican zucchini boats warm with sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired.
I have seen recipes that say to use amelon baller to scoop out the seeds, but I actually find it harder to use a melon baller. It is too sharp and it tends to cut too much of the flesh. A spoon is the best tool for the job.To make the zucchini lay flat so they won’t rock back and forth on the baking sheet, simply cut a small sliver of skin off of the bottom of the boats, being careful not to cut too much of the flesh of the zucchini.
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