The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing

I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of holiday deliciousness today.

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini stuffing is an easy, tasty holiday side dish that everyone will love!

Because this is quite literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing not only due to its insane flavor, but also because it is sooo easy to make. Yes, your holiday menus are about to change forever.


I’m letting you in on a little secret today, because this stuffing is actually a family recipe that I’ve held near and dear to my heart….until now. I’ve debated sharing it for a while, and after receiving my Dad’s blessing (he’s the mastermind behind it all) I decided there’s no time like 10 days before Thanksgiving to do it!

So, I bet you’re wondering what makes this The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing when it only involves 5 ingredients? Well, let me tell you, those five ingredients are chock full of alllll the flavors and work together so perfectly that you will never regret making this your new go-to stuffing recipe for years to come. We’re talking not only the obvious zucchini (which also, BTW, makes this recipe fairly healthy as far as stuffing recipes go) but also fresh basil and plenty of garlic. Of course we also mix in some breadcrumbs and tie it all together with some high-quality butter. Have I won you over yet?

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.

What if I told you this stuffing is perfectly safe to eat raw (if you just can’t wait until you bake it off to try it) AND you don’t even have to stuff it into any sort of bird to enjoy it in all its glory? That’s my kind of stuffing.

Now, I know I’m sharing this with you before Thanksgiving just in case you’re looking for that perfect way to dress up your turkey a little bit, but in all honesty my Dad usually whips up this recipe for Christmas Eve. In fact, we usually rotate whatever type of poultry we use (sometimes we do chickens, sometimes Cornish game hens, etc.) but The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing is the one constant on the menu.

The best thing about this Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing? It can even be eaten raw!

For Thanksgiving, my mom has her own special stuffing recipe, but I’m not ready to disclose that one quite yet 😉

As far as making The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing, it’s going to be a snap as long as you have a food processor on hand. (But yes, you can also make it without one.) You can use the grater attachment of your processor to grate the zucchini, and the chopper attachment for the basil, breadcrumbs and garlic.

After you have all of the ingredients prepped, you’ll sauté the zucchini and garlic in butter, then at the last minute stir in the breadcrumbs and basil before dumping everything into a baking dish (or stuffing it into a bird). If you’re using a baking dish, I might recommend one with a lot of surface area so you maximize the crunchy golden topping, but that’s just me.

This is literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing and you need to add it to your holiday cooking schedule!

Once you have the stuffing in the oven, it’s very much a “set it and forget it” recipe. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to sit back and relax with family and friends, hopefully with a delicious cocktail in hand. Because isn’t that what the holidays are REALLY all about??

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.
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The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 

This healthy stuffing recipe is incredibly flavorful with just FIVE ingredients. It can be made as a vegetarian side dish or stuffed into a bird!

Course: Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium to large zucchini
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature you’re cooking your bird at.)

  2. Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a cheese shredder, shred the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess water using a few paper towels and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shredded zucchini and garlic. Sauté until garlic is translucent and fragrant, then turn heat to low.

  4. In a clean food processor fitted with the blade attachment, make your fresh breadcrumbs using whatever type of bread you have on hand. Add fresh basil at the very end just to give it a rough chop.

  5. Stir breadcrumb mixture into zucchini mixture, then transfer into a baking dish, or stuff into your bird. Bake at desired oven temperature for about an hour, or until the surface of the stuffing takes on a nice golden-brown color.

  6. Serve with your holiday meal!

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing | CaliGirlCooking.com

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli

I have so much deliciousness to share with you today! These Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli are going to knock your socks off.

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

But first, did everyone have a nice Christmas? Did Santa bring you everything you asked for? The fiancé and I had such a wonderful weekend celebrating with both of our families. We feel so lucky that they live so close to each other and get along great. It makes the holidays so much easier!


Now that Christmas is behind us, I know we’re all starting to think seriously about New Year’s Eve plans and, most importantly, the menu. Chris and I don’t have anything big planned, we’ll probably just end up getting together with friends at someone’s house for a fairly low key night, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes make an appearance wherever we are.

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

Zucchini stuffing is a tradition in my family for Christmas Eve dinner every year. The method in which we eat it always changes (sometimes turkey, sometimes guinea hens, sometimes chickens) but the stuffing is a constant (as is my dad’s AMAZING mushroom soup, but you’ll have to hold tight for that recipe.)

This zucchini stuffing is so tasty and comes together with surprisingly very few ingredients. Breadcrumbs, shredded zucchini, garlic, basil, some nutmeg, salt and pepper and that’s it! It seriously is so amazing how addictive these flavors are together.

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

So, of course, I wanted to figure out some ways to enjoy zucchini stuffing more than just once a year. I started thinking that it would be pretty delicious in “cake” form, shaped into little patties. And I figured that if I was making it into cake form anyhow, why not add some crab to really seal the deal and add some protein to the dish? I must say the addition of the crab to the zucchini stuffing melds together perfectly, especially because we toss the crab in brown butter before adding it in. All of the fresh herb flavors from the stuffing really balance out the richness of the brown butter crab.

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

Finally, we top each cake off with some “cheater’s” lemon-basil aioli. I was too lazy to make an aioli from scratch (we’ll save that for another day), so I took some avocado oil mayonnaise (because that’s better for us than regular mayo, right?) and stirred in some lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh basil. Dollop the top of each cake with a little bit of this magic concoction and you have a hit of citrus that really rounds out the whole dish.

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

These Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli (say that three times fast) are the perfect hors d’eouvres for your New Year’s Eve celebration (or even for just a light dinner after all of this holiday feasting!) They are fairly healthy, get you some protein and vegetables, and won’t weigh you down because we all know that’s the last thing we need right now!

I’ll check back in later this week with some fun sparkling wine cocktail recipes, but until then do yourself a favor and make these stuffing cakes! You won’t be sorry 🙂

Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli

Yield: Makes about 12 cakes

Ingredients

    For the cakes:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat, drained
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (any type of bread will do; we usually use whole grain but have also used white bread and even Hawaiian sweet bread)
  • 3 medium zucchini, shredded (I use my food processor for this, but you could also shred it with a mandolin or grater)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2-6 tablespoons avocado oil
    For the aioli:
  • ½ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add butter. Let melt until butter has taken on a golden-brown hue and become fragrant (it will take on a slightly nutty flavor.) Turn off heat and add crab, stirring to evenly coat it in the butter; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the rest of the zucchini stuffing ingredients. Add the crab and stir until incorporated into the rest of the mixture.
  3. Using the same sauté pan you made the brown butter crab in, heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil over medium-high heat. Scoop stuffing mixture out in about 1/3 cup measurements and form into patties. It will be helpful to have as many patties as possible pre-formed before starting the frying process. Use the “water splash” test to make sure your sauté pan is hot enough. Splash a tiny bit of water on the pan and if it gives off a “hiss” you are good to go.
  4. Start adding the cakes to the pan. I was able to fit about five at a time, but it will depend on the size of your sauté pan. Cook on each side for about three minutes, or until golden. You will have to be careful with the flipping process as these cakes are quite delicate and may easily come apart.
  5. Once you finish a batch of the stuffing cakes, put them on a plate in the microwave or oven to keep them warm. Add more avocado oil as needed (you definitely do not want these cakes to stick) before starting the next batch. Continue until all of the stuffing mixture is used up.
  6. To make the aioli, combine all of the aioli ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. Dollop each cake with a scant tablespoon of aioli before serving.

Notes

You will have more than enough aioli, but save the extra for a great dip for veggies or even a topping for your next burger.

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Serve with a California Sauvignon Blanc.

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Crab Zucchini Stuffing Cakes with Lemon-Basil Aioli | CaliGirl Cooking

Fork –> Mouth -> Done.

Savory Prosciutto-Sage-Gruyere Bread Pudding

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

I have this thing with good bread. Don’t give me a chain grocery store baguette or a loaf of pre-packaged multigrain that gets dry two days after you’ve bought it. Give me some true, down home bread that you fetch out of the bakery case yourself and that you can’t help yourself from digging into on the way home because the aroma just fills your car and surely you just need to try it and make sure it’s alright. Sorry, gluten-free friends, I just can’t hang with you. I have too much of a love affair with fresh- from-the-corner-bakery bread.

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking


Which brings me to this bread pudding. Let’s just talk for a second about bread pudding. Bread pudding is a dish, typically enjoyed by all as a dessert, that just screams comfort and makes you want to curl up under your favorite blanket on the couch in front of a blazing fire.  There are soooo many different variations on bread pudding, and it really can be made with any type of bread and any fillings you desire.

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

For my little foray into the bread pudding world, I decided I was craving something a bit more on the savory side. My mouth started watering as I thought of all the delicious components I could add to make this something worthy of even your Thanksgiving spread (yes, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away!!! Have you made your Thanksgiving menu yet? Please do share! I want all the Thanksgiving food stuffs.)

Crispy prosciutto, brown butter infused with garlic and sage, shredded Gruyere, and the bread, the bread folks! I would settle for nothing less than a 1 ½ pound boule of the most delicious, FRESH sourdough bread for this dish. I had my mind made up and it was going to happen.

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

But even with this delicious hunk of love (er, I mean, sourdough bread) I couldn’t leave it be. As soon as the butter started simmering on the stove with the minced garlic and whole, fresh sage leaves, I quickly decided that this sourdough needed to be tossed and toasted in the brown butter to REALLY get these homey, comforting fall flavors across.

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

 

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

Add the crispy prosciutto, the Gruyere (plus some other cheeses I had hanging around ‘cuz why not?), some eggs…I even reserved the sage that had been infusing the brown butter to chop up, mixed it with some fresh sage that wasn’t already drenched in butter and added all that…I could hardly wait the 35 minutes for this thing to come out of the oven! The smells permeating from the kitchen just wouldn’t let me be. Good thing I needed to take some photos or else I probably would have burned my fingers off trying to taste it right out of the oven.

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

But the wait was soooo worth it. The garlic and sage brown butter toasted sourdough bread cubes counteract perfectly with the saltiness of the crispy prosciutto and the bite from the Gruyere and other cheeses. Every once in a while you get a bite of that sage and all is right with the world. It’s like a glorified grilled cheese that you don’t have to feel bad about serving at your holiday table. Who can argue with that?

Savory Prosciutto Sage Gruyere Bread Pudding | CaliGirl Cooking

Have any of you tried a savory bread pudding? What did you put in yours? I’m trying to try my hand at more variations of this!

Savory Prosciutto-Sage-Gruyere Bread Pudding

Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cubed sourdough bread (from a loaf, none of this sliced sandwich bread stuff)
  • ½ cup butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, separated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 slices prosciutto, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 cup + ¼ cup mixed shredded cheese, separated (I used Gruyere, Parmesan and Romano)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place butter in large sauté pan over medium heat. As soon as butter is melted, add 8 fresh sage leaves and garlic to pan. Let infuse until butter has browned slightly, remove from heat. Remove sage leaves with a slotted spoon or tongs and reserve for later.
  3. Return sauté pan with butter to medium-high heat and add cubed sourdough. Stir to coat bread in butter then allow bread to toast in butter. This may take up to 10 minutes, just keep an eye on the bread and stir as necessary so all sides of the cubes get nice and toasted.
  4. Once bread cubes are toasted, set aside in a large bowl.
  5. Next, prepare all other parts of the pudding. Whisk eggs in a small bowl; set aside.
  6. To prepare prosciutto, heat up a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. Once pan is hot, add prosciutto and let it start to fry. Once prosciutto is crispy, remove from sauté pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up some of the excess grease.
  7. Chop up reserved, fried sage leaves as well as the 4 additional sage leaves that were not in the brown butter mixture.
  8. Add beaten eggs, crispy prosciutto, sage, 1 cup shredded cheese, almond milk, nutmeg and salt and pepper to bowl with toasted bread cubes in it. Stir until combined. Pour bread mixture into a ceramic baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray (I used this 8-inch ceramic pie plate); top with remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese.
  9. Bake bread pudding in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn broiler on high and broil for an additional 5-6 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool before eating.

Notes

Wine Pairing Suggestion: This would be phenomenal with a Chardonnay that has a little bit of oak on it. I highly recommend Alpha Omega Chardonnay.

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