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Recipe List for Zucchini

Be Sure to Use Flavorful Whole Grain Breads for This Recipe

A delicious twist on basic spaghetti:  Baking it with spinach, sausage and cheese melds the flavors deliciously and creates a one-dish meal that’s almost as good as lasagna—without all the work.  Use a smaller or larger amount of meat, as desired, or omit completely for a vegetarian version.

Serves:  4

Grill Notes

Although zucchini and tofu can be grilled directly on grate, a grill pan is recommended to prevent accidental loss and sticking.   

Oven Instructions

If you prefer to cook indoors, adjust top oven rack to be 5” from broiler, then preheat broiler.  Spray or spread two jelly roll pans with oil and lay zucchini slices on one, tofu on the other.  Broil about 5 minutes per side, or until lightly browned on both sides, and zucchini is tender enough.  Toast bread under broiler or in toaster oven or toaster.   

Meat Option

For the tofu, substitute chicken breasts or lean sausage.  Once grilled, slice thinly so it can be eaten easily in sandwich.   

Ingredient Notes

1.  Tofu To use tofu, slice open the plastic covering with a paring knife, gently lift out the tofu, then discard the water (or use it for cooking rice.)  

For grilling, it is best to “press” the tofu:  lay one end of a clean dish towel on a large dinner plate, arrange the tofu filets evenly across it, then fold the other half of towel over the tops of filets.  Lay another dinner plate on top for 5-10 minutes.  This process squeezes out extra moisture and compacts the tofu so it can be grilled without falling apart.  It also makes room for other flavors to impregnate the usually bland tofu.  Timesaver:  Tofu can be pressed in the morning and left between towels all day in the refrigerator so it is ready to go at dinner time.

It’s no secret that tofu can be on the bland side.  That’s why this recipe “marinates” it in Italian dressing before grilling.  If you have the time, let it marinate for at least 5-10 minutes.   

2.  Zucchini Don’t worry if you end up more grilled zucchini than needed for your sandwiches.  Grilled zucchini makes a delicious side for the sandwiches.  

3.  Pizza Sauce Muir Glen is my favorite sauce.  It not only tastes great, but it’s made with all real ingredients–just like homemade.   

4.  Cheese Parmesan cheese is used because a small amount packs a lot of flavor.  Feel free to substitute (or add) mozzarella, provolone, feta, chevre or another favorite cheese that works well with Italian flavors.

Get Creative

This sandwich can go deluxe with the addition of sauteed or grilled mushrooms, onions or red peppers.  But you may have to eat it with knife and fork!


Open-Faced Italian Sandwiches

An easy, all-in-one weekday dish that is perfect in any weather.  On hot days, grill everything outdoors; on cool days broil in the oven.  Make them open-faced makes for a better balance between carbs and veggies, or as a full sandwich for a heartier meal.  Either way, just be sure to use 100% whole grain bread since it retains all of its natural nutrients.        



1 tub firm or hard tofu (14-18 oz.), sliced ½” thick

Press Tofu  Press tofu filets (see Notes.)  

2 lb. zucchini (4 sm., 4-5” zucchini or 2 med 6-8” zucchini), sliced lengthwise into ¼” slabs

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Prepare Zucchini  Place zucchini slabs in a large bowl or casserole dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil then toss with hands, rubbing each slice to coat with oil. Reserve.

2-4 Tbsp favorite Italian or balsamic salad dressing  

Marinate Tofu  Once tofu is pressed, remove towel and lay filets directly on dinner plate.  Drizzle with salad dressing and, using your hands or a spoon, spread the dressing evenly over filets, being sure to coat both sides.  Allow to “marinate” for 5-10 minutes.

4 slices 100% whole grain bread (or 2 sandwich rolls or small baguettes, halved lengthwise)

½ to 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, to taste

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 15-oz. can pizza sauce (or equivalent amount of homemade sauce)

Prepare Bread, Basil, Cheese and Sauce  Place bread on a dinner plate.  Place basil and parmesan cheese in separate bowls.  Warm pizza sauce gently, in a saucepan deep enough to prevent it from popping and spattering all over stove.   


Grill Ingredients and Assemble Sandwiches  When all ingredients are prepared, heat grill on high setting.  Lay zucchini in a single layer across one grill pan and tofu filets on another.  Place both pans on preheated grill and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, just until well-browned.  Reduce heat to low and cook another 2-3 minutes until zucchini is tender to taste (which may be very crisp or more mushy.)  

During the last couple minutes of cooking time, lay bread on grill and toast both sides.     

To assemble the sandwiches, lay one slice toasted bread on a plate, spread with warmed sauce, then top with several basil leaves, a couple tofu filets, another layer of sauce, several zucchini slices and cheese.  Serve immediately.    

Grill Pans

Don’t lose food to the fiery dragon inside your grill.  Inexpensive grill pans prevent food from falling between the grates while still allowing plenty of grill flavor to get through.  

© 2009 Culinary Concepts, Inc., Boulder CO

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