I’m a huge pasta lover. I’m not a huge lover of grains, though. We have lots of dishes like this at our house where veggies are used in place of carbs and it makes it even more enjoyable to me that the substitute can be SO delicious while so healthy. I made this for a family birthday dinner and it was a huge hit. It doubles really well and paired with some dinner rolls (mmmmm rolls….) or this fabulous bread, it feeds a big group fabulously!
Omit the cheese for dairy free and Paleo.
Prep Time: 25
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 lb ground beef
4 large zucchini
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
for the sauce:
8 large vine tomatoes (or this box of tomatoes)
1 large red pepper
2 medium onions
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.
Uniformly slice zucchini into medallions and add to a medium bowl. Pat out the excess water and then give a good drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup finely shredded cheese (Parmesan or Romano would be great) and then toss well to coat. Lay out on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes. Broil for 1-2 minutes to crisp the tops before taking it out.
While the zucchini is baking, quarter the tomatoes, pepper and onions, smash the garlic cloves and throw into a large saucepan. Pour in enough chicken broth to go about 1/2 up the veggies.
Add seasonings and give a good stir. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the skins of the tomatoes and pepper are peeling away. Remove skins (you don’t want to skip this step) and transfer veggies to a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Reserve about half of the liquid and add it if you need it. You don’t want it to be too watery. Process until you reach your desired consistency.
I like my sauce completely smooth, B likes it chunky. You pick.
Cook the meat.
Brown the meat in a large skillet. Season generously with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder and an Italian blend. (I make my own with oregano, thyme and rosemary.) Make sure and drain any grease. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Start with a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan, layer veggies, meat and then cheese. Repeat.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until your cheese is browned and bubbly. Broil for a minute or two if needed to get the crispy, browned, delicious cheese on top.
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