What do you get when you combine rich nuts, fresh herbs, bright citrus zest, and cheesy nutritional yeast? A vegan version of a cheese topping that will make even non-vegans beg for more! If you are new to nutritional yeast, let me tell you, this has been by-far the most essential ingredient in my pantry for the last few months. It is loaded with B-vitamins, iron, protein, etc., and is linked with increased immunity and cancer prevention. Besides its health benefits, it is also seriously delicious, with that much-sought-after umami quality that is pure salty bliss. Don’t just take my word for it, go out and buy a bag and try it (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill). Sprinkle it on some popcorn for an easy introduction. You’ll soon be as addicted as I am!
This is a side dish that is sure to impress, and yet only takes minutes to throw together. If you’re in a rut when it comes to side dishes, give these a try. And don’t stop there; the stuffing in this recipe would be great on a whole bunch of different roasted veggies like tomatoes, onions, summer squash, fennel, or peppers. Just follow the basic technique of roasting the veggies till tender, sprinkling them with the topping, and then baking for a few extra minutes. Play with the nuts and herbs that you put in the topping and you’ll have an endless number of combinations to rev up your weeknight meals. Move over boring old frozen peas, things just got interesting! (Although, come to think of it, some of this topping tossed with cooked peas would be quite nice :P)
For the filling:
- 2 tbsp pecans
- 2 tbsp almonds
- 1/3 cup parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (I use Panko)
- 4 zucchini
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Place all the filling ingredients, except the breadcrumbs, in a blender and pulse until you have a coarse meal. Add in the bread crumbs and pulse once or twice just to combine. Set this aside.
2. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out a bit of the flesh all along the length of the zucchini. You’re aiming to make little canoe shapes here. There’s no need to scoop too deep, you just want some space for the filling to sit cozy later on.
3. Place the zucchini on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until just tender.
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and fill the zucchini with the nut mixture. Sprinkle with some extra breadcrumbs. Return the sheet to the oven for 10 minutes, until the topping is browned slightly. Enjoy!