Sure, you can make this sloppy joe filling and eat it on a soft kaiser, but that’s so basic. I want to give you a healthier option so you can eat even more sloppy joe stuff. You can round out these zucchini boats with garlic bread or rice on the side and serve as a meal.

Or, if you’re too lazy to prep the zucchini altogether, just pour the sloppy joe mixture into an oven-safe dish, top with the vegan cheese shreds, and bake for 20 minutes until melty! Serve with slices of garlic toast for dipping, a perfect last-minute party appie.

INGREDIENTS

4 large zucchini
3 Tbsps olive oil, divided

1 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion (about 1 onion)

1 cup finely diced green bell pepper (about 1 pepper)

2 Tbsps coconut sugar or light brown sugar
2 Tbsps gluten-free tamari or low-sodium soy sauce 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)

2 tsps vegan beef-flavored bouillon base or 2 cubes 2 tsps chili powder
2 tsps onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1 package (13.7 oz/390 g) veggie ground round (about 3 cups)

2 cups canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes 1⁄4 cup vegan Worcestershire
2 cups mixed vegan cheese shreds
(1 cup each mozzarella and Cheddar)

3 Tbsps Italian-style bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a paring knife to score around the inside edge about 1⁄4 inch from the sides, being careful not to cut through the zucchini. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the flesh.

Take 1 Tbsp of the oil and brush both sides of the zucchini boats with a light layer. Arrange the zucchini halves side- by-side on a large baking sheet with the hollowed parts facing up.

In a large nonstick pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the coconut sugar, tamari, garlic, bouillon base, chili powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the ground round, crushed tomatoes, and Worcestershire, stir to combine, and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for 20 minutes, until reduced, thick, and darker brown.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Spoon the sloppy joe mixture generously into the zucchini boats, piling the mixture above the edges. Top with the vegan cheese shreds and sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly on top of each. Bake for 35 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes to crisp up the top, if necessary.

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