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Chard and Parmesan Stuffed Zucchini with Baked Ricotta

Servings: 4 as a main course

I like red chard for its color, but green or rainbow may be used. Swiss chard bunches vary greatly in size from store to store and season to season. For this reason, I give the quantity in finished cuts. This dish can be served at room temperature or warm; it’s also excellent reheated at 375°F until warmed through, 8 to 10 minutes.


  • 4 small zucchini (about 6 oz. each)
  • 7 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red chard stems, cut into 1/16-inch pieces
  • 2 lightly packed cups finely sliced red chard leaves (about 4 oz.)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fennel seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 3 cups)
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn (about 8, or a small handful)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups plain panko
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 520
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 340
  • Fat (g): 38
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 22
  • Cholesterol (mg): 80
  • Sodium (mg): 940
  • Carbohydrates (g): 30
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Sugar (g): 5
  • Protein (g): 17


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400°F. Trim both ends of the zucchini, and cut each one in half lengthwise. Use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds and most of the flesh, leaving the remaining zucchini shell about 1/4 inch thick. Coarsely chop the scooped-out seeds and flesh, and set aside.
  • Heat 3 Tbs. of the oil in a large Dutch oven or large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and chard stems, and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini flesh and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and zucchini fully soften and any liquid cooks off, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp. of the fennel seeds, and the nutmeg. Reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the chard is tender and any remaining liquid in the pan has cooked off, another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is well combined. Do not overprocess; the mixture should have a coarse texture with some smoothness. Transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and about half of the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg and then 1/2 cup of the panko.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup panko, 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds.
  • Brush a large baking dish with 1 Tbs. of the oil, then brush the cut side of each zucchini lightly with oil, about 2 tsp. divided. Season each zucchini half with a pinch of salt and pepper. Use a small spoon to fill each zucchini with the chard mixture, distributing it evenly among the zucchini halves. Top each zucchini with 2 generous spoonfuls of the panko crumb mixture, about 1-1/2 heaping Tbs. on each zucchini half. Transfer the stuffed zucchini to the baking dish and then to the oven. Bake until the zucchini are tender and the panko topping is golden-brown, about 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, salt to taste, and lemon zest in an oven-safe bowl or small baking dish. Bake until just hot, about 7 minutes.
  • Transfer the zucchini to a serving dish, and top each half with a spoonful of ricotta, the remaining basil, and the chopped parsley, if you like.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • kayandallie | 08/08/2019

    I don't really like the baked ricotta on it. Maybe it's the lemon zest. Anyway, just not really worth the effort for the whole thing although the stuffing was good in the pan.

  • Lpilon | 07/25/2019

    This is delicious. Lots of steps, but not hard if you pre-prep ingredients. I halved the recipe. The baked ricotta is a must - really good! Next time I'll make them ahead, then add crumbs and bake later. I'm lazy about using lots of dishes, so hand-chopped filling rather than using food processor and mixed ingredients in the dutch oven instead of dirtying more bowls.

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