Each recipe is finished with a wine pairing… see below!!
This recipe can be made 3 ways! With or without meat or just like I have to make it at home… half and half 🙂 Some may not be a fan of their non meat meal, touching a meat meal but in my household where I am the only vegetarian; I need to be a little flexible unless I always plan on cooking 3 meals. My son is 18 months old and unless it’s avocado, hummus or chicken fingers, he is not having it. And my hubby-to-be??? He swears that you cannot get full when there is no meat. So I get creative!!! I know it’s not typical to be OK with having a meat product in/near your vegetarian dish but here is the thing. I believe in the circle of life, and I don’t think eating meat is the worst thing in the world but I do know that we eat entirely too much of it, at an unsustainable rate. I personally believe it’s ruining our environment and on top of that, do not even get me started on animal cruelty. I feel so out of control when shopping for meat, it’s either high dollar (and even then I’m not sure I can believe the labels) or it goes against my morals. I just decided one day to take 1 step in doing my part, so I quit eating most meat but I still eat seafood occasionally. I know, I know, they are still animals but I am doing my best. Working my way toward no seafood one day. As Kathy Freshton would put it, I am practicing being veganish… and some is better than nothing right?
There are a ton of health benefits to cutting out meat from your diet so I figured why not?? I get closer to a becoming a full vegetarian the more I learn the best foods to replace the meat for nutrition. Otherwise, if I go to fast I would end up on an all bread and chip diet and I don’t think that will do. If anyone has meal ideas, please share! It’s funny when you grow up eating one way, eating becomes a no brainer, but when you take out a major source of protein you have to re-train yourself on what foods to automatically chose. If you are working on cutting out meat, give yourself a break if you can’t do it all right away. You want to do it right if it’s a true lifestyle change, food = health so be careful to do your research and talk to your doctor!!!
Bon Appetite! I can’t wait to hear what you all think!
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 jars of Bertoli rustic cut pasta sauce
- 1½ cups of part skim ricotta cheese
- 3 oz of shaved parmesan cheese
- 10 - 12 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
- ½ of a medium yellow onion (chopped)
- table salt
- Splash of EVOO
- ½ pound of ground beef - organic and humanely raised, look for certification on package
- 8 oz of shredded mozzerella cheese
- 3 oz of spinach
- Slice the zucchini to ⅛ inch pieces and lay to the side for 10 minutes after salting lightly (this will remove some of the water content)
- Use a large pan and brown the slices of zucchini for a few minutes on each side to finish getting out as much water as possible.
- Set the zucchini to the side on a paper towel for another 10 min.
- Using the same pan, brown the onions. As they start to turn brown, add in tomatoes.
- Spray your baking dish and then lay out ½ of the zucchini to nicely cover the bottom
- Remove the onions and tomatoes, set aside
- Using the same pan again, add a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and brown and crumble your meat
- Now, add ¾ of the Bertoli Sauce over the first layer of Zucchini
- Spread the spinach over to cover
- On top of that, spread out the onions and tomatoes, add the hamburger meat only to one half
- Mix together ricotta and Parmesan and dollop the mix, getting over as much as possible (there will be gaps, don't worry it will melt down)
- Add the rest of the zucchini covering as much as possible, top with another cup or so (to your taste) of sauce and then top with mozzarella cheese
- Bake at 375 for 40 - 50 min. - Watch for the top to get golden and then set aside to cool for 10
Pair with a great Merlot or Cabernet like one of these below for a complete meal… oh and maybe a salad too 🙂 Click on the photo to go to my online store! The more you sip the more you give — Check each bottle for the charity that they impact.