Nicole took me on a field trip last week. I say that because when my kids were small, I planned many of the field trips for our homeschool group. Now the kids are all grown up, and Nicole planned a trip into Manhattan with Michael and Peter to visit the Neue Galerie in New York City. She asked me if I would like to join them. Of course, I did.
The museum is currently running an exhibit called “Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold” which coincides with the recent movie, Woman In Gold. The movie is about the return of five Klimt paintings that had been seized by the Nazis during World War II. It’s a remarkable story, and The Woman in Gold oil painting created with actual gold and silver is quite beautiful to behold.
And what does this have to do with grilled zucchini roll ups? Well, when you’ve traveled into the city and walked around a museum and then walked and walked all around Central Park, you work up quite an appetite. I did a little quick thinking on the way home. What could I put together for an appetizer until dinner would be ready? I knew that I had bolognese sauce in the refrigerator and lots of zucchini. Voilà! Quick and easy grilled zucchini roll ups were born.
Our zucchini crop is winding down, and so is the summer. We’re trying to enjoy the warm weather as long as it lasts. Of course, grilling outside rather than cooking in the hot kitchen is the way to go. That includes grilling vegetables. I wish I had come up with this recipe at the beginning of the summer. Rolling up the grilled zucchini with bolognese sauce and fresh parmesan really takes it to the next level. Wow! These little grilled zucchini roll ups make an amazing appetizer.
For a dairy-free option, just eliminate the parmesan. 🙂
We’re going to make my same quick bolognese sauce that I made for my zoodles with bolognese sauce and stuff each roll up with the delicious saucy meat. Here we go. Sauté onion, garlic, carrot and celery in oil in a large skillet. Next, we add the beef to the sautéed vegetables, season with salt, and cook stirring frequently, until the meat has browned. Then, we add tomato puree, tomato paste, a bay leaf, salt, and oregano to taste. Cover the skillet and let it simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens.
Meanwhile, using a sharp knife cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin 1/4 inch strips. You should be able to get about 4-5 slices from each zucchini discarding the outermost slices of zucchini. Then brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Set them aside to cool a bit before handling.
Now for the fun part. You’ll stuff each zucchini strip with a tablespoon of the saucy beef and store the remainder of the sauce in the fridge. Spread about a tablespoon of meat along half of each grilled strip. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, roll up and place seam side down on a platter.
Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices. Sure go ahead and lick the spoon. Mmmm. And that’s it.
Gluten free, paleo friendly, and just plain fun. Enjoy, friends!
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree (Muir Glen is organic and gluten free)
- 1 (6- ounce) tomato paste (Muir Glen is organic and gluten free)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- parmesan cheese, grated *see note for dairy-free option
- For Bolognese sauce:In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-low flame. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and saute on low, about 5 minutes. Add meat, season with salt and cook stirring frequently, until meat has browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomato puree, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt, oregano to taste. Simmer covered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about ½ hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- For zucchini: Preheat grill.
- Cut zucchini lengthwise into thin ¼ inch strips. Brush each zucchini slice lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Let cool slightly.
- Assemble roll-ups: Spread about a tablespoon of meat along half of each grilled strip. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, roll up and place seam-side down on a platter. Repeat with each grilled zucchini slice.
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