GREEKIN OUT LAMB AND FETA ZUCCHINI BOATS

1 large zucchini (12-14”) or 2 smaller zucchinis (8-10”)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 large Japanese eggplants, chopped into ½” rounds and then cut into quarters (about 4 cups)

2 ½ teaspoons salt, divided

2 ½ teaspoons black pepper, divided

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 ½-pounds ground lamb

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed

2 teaspoons dried basil

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons dried oregano

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ cup Hellmann’s Light mayo

2 cups cooked white rice

1 ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded Fontina cheese

8-ounces feta cheese block, crumbled (plus more for garnish)

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise.  Bring a large pot (large enough to submerge the zucchini in water) of water to a boil. If the zucchini is too large for your biggest pot, you can flip them over to cook the other end half way through cooking.  Submerge the zucchini and boil until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the zucchini.  Drain cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with a kitchen towel.  When cool and well-drained, scoop the flesh out of the zucchini halves leaving about a ½” of ‘meat’ around the shell so they hold their shape.  Place the pulp in a strainer and press with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Chop into bite-size pieces.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet and sauté onion and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggplant and ½ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until eggplant is soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely (place in the fridge or freezer once it has cooled a bit to expedite the process).

In a large bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper along with the cooled eggplant and chopped pulp.  Massage the ingredients together until combined without over-mixing.

Season the inside of the zucchini ‘shells’ with remaining salt and pepper and stuff with the lamb mixture.  Place the ‘boats’ on foil-lined baking sheets and bake until cooked through and browned on top, about 40-50 minutes depending on thickness (and if you used one large or two medium zucchinis).  Garnish with more feta and fresh chopped mint.

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