Stuffed zucchini is one of those dishes that is so versatile and easy to customize. You can stuff just about anything into it and call it dinner.
I mean, maybe not anything, but all sorts of combinations. I’ve made sausage-stuffed zucchini, taco stuffed zucchini, chicken enchilada stuffed zucchini , and now…caprese chicken and orzo stuffed zucchini boats.
J really loves stuffed zucchini, but I wanted to make a different version than the ones I tend to make over and over (see above), so I started thinking of what else might be good in it. Chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, and orzo…with balsamic glaze of course. Yep, that was it, I decided. Then I just had to make that little idea in my head come to life. And taste as good as it sounded in my head.
Luckily for you all, it definitely did!! The basil pesto mixed with the chicken gave a great base flavor for the whole dish. Then you mix in tomatoes and mozzarella, along with the orzo and zucchini, stuff it all into zucchini boats and then top with fresh basil and a balsamic glaze – off the chain, yo!!
I think I wound up eating 4 of the 6 halves between dinner and lunch, which is an unusual ratio at our house. But they were delicious and J couldn’t take leftovers for lunch that needed to be heated so…more for me!
These take a little more prep work than the typical dinners I make, but it’s nothing too extensive, and well worth the little bit of extra work, for the amazing outcome.
Caprese Chicken and Orzo Stuffed Zucchini Boats
A Sweet Beginnings Original
- 3 large zucchini
- ½ cup uncooked orzo
- ½ lb ground chicken
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp basil pesto
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 oz Mozzarella, chopped
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 basil leaves, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line a large baking sheet with foil (or spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray) and set aside.
- Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a medium cooking scoop or a spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving about ¼ of flesh all the way around. Lay the zucchini, cut-side down, on a paper towel while you prepare the filling.
- Dice about ½ cup of the zucchini flesh and set aside for later use. Store the rest for use in another recipe, some other time.
- Heat a 2 qt pot of water over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and add the orzo. Cook according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the chicken, garlic, and pesto together in a bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray or drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the chicken mixture and cook, stirring to break up the chicken, until cooked through.
- Remove from heat and stir in the reserved diced zucchini, chopped tomatoes, and orzo. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped Mozzarella.
- Place the zucchini halves onto your prepared baking sheet (or casserole dish) cut-side up. Spoon the chicken mixture into each zucchini half, and don’t be stingy – fill ’em up! Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melty and the zucchini have softened slightly.
- While the zucchini are baking, heat a small pot over medium heat and add the balsamic vinegar and honey. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to thicken. Reduce heat to just keep warm until the zucchini are done.
- Once the zucchini are done, drizzle with the balsamic glaze and chopped basil leaves. Serve immediately!