Equal parts fresh and convenient, this brilliantly colored zucchini involtini is as satisfying to serve to loved ones as it is to dig into on your own. Start with fat, firm zucchini, broccoli, and a pile of garlic from the freshest source you can find, then let a jar of roasted red peppers pair up with a touch of creamy tahini to produce a dead simple, eye-popping sauce. A can of white beans pureed with comforting seasonings provides a quick and substantial filling in which to suspend bright green bits of broccoli.
If you're comfortable multi-tasking, you'll find this provides an
impressive presentation for not a lot of effort once the produce is chopped. If you're new to the
kitchen, it's definitely do-able, but allow yourself a bit of extra time
to organize the components.
As ever, we used our electric countertop grill to prep the zucchini strips before rolling. You can, of course, turn to an outdoor grill or steam the zucchini until pliable. Note that we used a particularly fat variety of zucchini (shown above). If you can find large zucchini, the dish will be faster to make.
Creamy White Bean-Broccoli Zucchini Involtini with Roasted Red Pepper Puree
For the involtini:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 large head garlic, about 10 cloves, minced
1 medium stalk broccoli (9 oz total weight, including stalk), torn into very small florets (2 cups of florets)
1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, to taste
1 15-oz can navy beans, drained, but not rinsed
1 no-salt-added vegetable bouillon cube
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
2 TBSP nutritional yeast
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
15 5-to-6-inch-long zucchini slices, each 1/4-inch thick and about 2 1/2 inches wide, from two very fat zucchini (1 1/2 lb total weight)
For the red pepper puree:
1 16-oz jar roasted red peppers, drained (about 4 large peppers, if you prefer to freshly roast them)
1 TBSP tahini
zest of 1 lime
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
To begin the filling, heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a small pan. Add the garlic, stir to coat, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add all red pepper puree ingredients to a food processor and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides halfway through.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the pepper puree, and cook over medium to medium-low heat until a bit darker and fragrant, but still saucy, 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat and cover.
When the garlic is ready, add the broccoli florets and red pepper flakes. Cook until bright green and crisp-tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes (again, the florets should be very small, so they cook quickly).
Meanwhile, preheat a countertop electric grill. While it heats, quickly rinse and wipe dry the food processor and add to it the beans, bouillon cube, salt, nutritional yeast, and pepper. Puree 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and bottom to ensure the bouillon cube isn't sticking, and puree another 30 seconds, until smooth. Stir the broccoli-garlic mixture into the bean puree.
When the grill is ready, working in batches, add the zucchini slices in a single layer, close the grill, and cook 5 minutes, undisturbed. They should be visibly seared, fragrant, and pliable, but not mushy.
Place a spoonful of filling (about 2 tsp) on one end of a zucchini strip and roll to close. Place seam-down into the pan with the red pepper puree. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices, cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low and warm through (it won't take long). Serve immediately.