Making Zucchini Less Meh- Zucchini “Blooms” with Caramelized Red Onion and Goat Cheese

Zucchini you could bring home to mom!

Zucchini you could bring home to mom!

Zucchini is usually a filler vegetable that takes on the personality of whatever you season it with- kind of like a boring friend who always mimics the likes of the group- you don’t love them but they never cause any problems, so why not invite them to the party?

But here’s something to love about about zucchini: it’s super low-calorie and flexible. Literally, flexible. Inspired by a zucchini roll-ups, I set out to make a healthy side dish to a spring holiday feast- that still looked presentable.

Zucchini "ribbons"

Zucchini “ribbons”

A few things I learned along the way: a) This is a labor of love. It took a while… b) in this recipe don’t salt zucchini until it’s been cooked. Zucchini is 95% water and salt turns the zucchini ribbons to complete mush c) the surface area of the baking dish you’re trying to fill with blooms should be no more than 70 square inches. The vessel I used in the picture is 6 x 10″- which made about 6-8 little zucchini buds per person.

Serves 5

  • 1 Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 C Water, plus 1/4 C Water
  • 2-3 oz Goat Cheese
  • 1.5- 2lbs Zucchini (about 6 medium zucchini)
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.) In a Teflon pan put the sliced red onion with 1/2 C water and heat to medium. Cook until all the water has evaporated and the onions have cooked through- about 10 minutes. Spray a few times with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low, then add remaining 1/4 C water. Keep your eye on the onions as they begin to caramelize. When they start to brown, take pan off heat and add the goat cheese to the hot pan, stirring to create a homogenous mixture. Put in a bowl and set aside to cool.

2.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Using cooking spray, coat a 6 x 10″ baking dish.

3.) Wash zucchini and cut off tops and ends. Using a vegetable peeler (I prefer pull-peelers for this), shave all of the zucchini into long ribbons lengthwise. Reserve in a bowl.

4.) Put 1 tsp or less of goat cheese and onion mixture on a ribbon of zucchini. Roll the zucchini around the mixture, then add more strands of zucchini and keep rolling until it makes a “bloom.” Each “bloom” takes  4 to 6 ribbons of zucchini at least. Nestle each one into the dish and rinse repeat. And maybe watch a movie. Or sucker a child into thinking it’s the funnest thing ever and leave them to it. Try to pack them in there because they shrink a bit when cooked.

5.) Once your baking dish is full, spray the top with cooking spray and cook for 1 hour.

6.) After it’s out of the oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper on the top. Yum!

Calories: 99  – Fat : 5 grams –  Carbs: 9 grams – Fiber: 2.5 grams – Protein: 6 grams – PP: 3

You either get faster at making the bloom thingees, or you begin to care less...

You either get faster at making the bloom thingees, or you begin to care less…

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