Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

This is a satisfying meal item that is filled with delicious veggies, and taste-bud pleasing flavor. Zucchini works well for 'stuffing' because they soften while baking, without losing any of their juices, and maintaining a nice crunch. This recipe can be tweaked with your favorite herbs and seasonings.

Ingredients (enough for 4):
2 large zucchinis (or 3 small), sliced lengthwise in half
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper

1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup salsa (I like medium heat)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste (I would suggest at least 1/4 tsp each)
1/8 cup black beans OR chopped walnuts (optional, for the extra protein kick)

1/2 cup quinoa (I use red quinoa, but you can use any color, or use rice)
1 cup vegetable broth
pinch of salt and pepper

1/8 cup nutritional yeast (you can also use a good vegan cheese)

1) Scoop out half of the zucchini (centre) out of the halves, with a spoon. Chop the scooped out portion and set aside. Drizzle zucchini halves with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake (face-up) for 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
2) While baking, heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Saute onion until it is translucent (about 4 minutes), then add bell pepper, sauteing for an additional 2 minutes (or until slightly softened). Add salsa, garlic, seasonings, and black beans or walnuts (if using) sauteing until hot (about 2 minutes). Set aside.
3) In a small pot, combine vegetable stock and quinoa and pepper and salt, bringing to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cover and let simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes (or until quinoa soaks up water). Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.
4) Combine quinoa mixture and vegetable mixture. Once zucchini boats have finished baking, stuff them with the mixture until they are as full as you can make them. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes, at 375 degrees. Serve hot, and enjoy!
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