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Easy, healthy, and extra delicious Italian stuffed zucchini boats! This low-carb meal comes together in under 30 minutes, with only 5 (!!!) ingredients. The ultimate lazy, yet super healthy dinner recipe.

overhead image of zucchini boats on a plate with white wine on the side.

What You’ll Need to Make Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini – This summer vegetable is super cheap and easy to find! Start by slicing a zucchini in half, then removing the seeds and some of the flesh from inside. You’ll be left with two zucchini “boats,” ready to be filled with our delicious Italian sausage in sauce.

Italian Sausage – Feel free to use whatever kind of Italian sausage you’d like! Though make sure it’s uncooked and removed from its casings before cooking. As it cooks, break the sausage up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Italian sausage is packed with herbs and spices, adding even more flavor to this already super flavorful dish.

Marinara Sauce – I use and love Rao’s marinara sauce for when I don’t feel like making it myself. Rao’s is perfectly tangy, has tons of flavor, with just a hint of sweetness. However, you can totally use your favorite jarred marinara sauce for this recipe. Or, if you have some time to spare, go ahead and throw together a homemade sauce to use instead.

Dried Italian Seasoning – The final step before cooking these zucchini boats is sprinkling them with a little bit of dried Italian seasoning. I love the flavor this packs, but it’s totally optional if you’re not feeling up to it or don’t have any on-hand.

overhead image of zucchini boats in a baking dish.

Tips and Tricks

  • Finish off these Italian stuffed zucchini boats with fresh-grated parmesan cheese! It rounds out the Italian flavors in this dish, and make it that much more delicious. Also, who doesn’t love a little bit of cheese?!
  • You can easily prep-then-freeze this dish ahead of time! To do this, follow each step of the recipe, up to cooking it. Then, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, before freezing for up to three months. When ready to eat, simply defrost, then bake as instructed.
  • This is a great, healthy meal to prep for a crowd! Simply double or triple the amounts listed in the recipe below, and you can feed a whole army (ok …maybe not an entire army, but you get the point). I love throwing this quick and easy zucchini recipe together for friends and family, it’s a total crowd-favorite!
close-up image of zucchini boat being cut into with a fork.

Adjust This Recipe to Your Dietary Needs

Make it Gluten-Free: These zucchini boats are already gluten-free! However, to be absolutely certain they don’t contain any traces of gluten, check your sausage and marinara sauce packaging to make sure those ingredient are entirely gluten-free.

Make it Dairy-Free: For a dairy-free version of this recipe, replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast!

Make it Vegan: Replace the sausage with your favorite vegan meat substitute, and cook it with an additional teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning. Then, similar to the dairy-free version, top with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Samantha Course: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Total time

30

minutes

Easy, healthy, and extra delicious Italian stuffed zucchini boats! This low-carb meal comes together in under 30 minutes, with only 5 (!!!) ingredients. The ultimate lazy, yet super healthy dinner recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

  • salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage (casings removed)

  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, optional

  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out and remove the seeds and a little bit of the flesh from each zucchini half.
  • Sprinkle zucchini with salt and black pepper, then place inside a large baking dish and set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add in the Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink. Break up the meat as it cooks, should take about 5 minutes.
  • Add marinara sauce to the skillet, reduce heat to low and simmer sausage in sauce for 2-3 minutes.
  • Spoon the sauce mixture into the cavity of each zucchini half, then evenly sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and zucchini is tender. Serve warm with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Recipe Video

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These s’mores rice crispy treats are insanely delicious and super easy to make! They’re loaded with gluten-free cookies, crisp rice cereal, gooey melted marshmallow, and plenty of chocolate chips.

close-up overhead image of s'more rice crispy treats with graham cracker pieces, mini marshmallows, and drizzled chocolate on top.

What You Need To Make S’mores Rice Crispy Treats

Rice Cereal – Classic Rice Krispies cereal is my favorite in this recipe! They’re light and remain super crunchy in these treats. I have to say, I’ve tried a handful of off-brand rice cereals for this recipe and none taste nearly as good as Rice Krispies do. I’m not sure what it is, but most other kinds end up too soft and almost soggy when mixed into these s’mores rice crispy treats.

Graham Crackers – Any graham cracker will work here! I’ve tested this recipe using my homemade vegan and gluten-free graham crackers, and oh man were they delicious. O, for an organic option, I recommend Annie’s Organic Honey Graham Crackers.

Marshmallows – I used regular-sized marshmallows to make my s’mores rice crispy treat. However, you can use a 10-ounce bag of mini marshmallows instead. I also recommend topping your treats with a small handful of mini marshmallows for a super cute look!

s'mores rice crispy treats spread onto an upside down baking sheet.

Adjust This Recipe To Your Dietary Needs

Make it Vegan: Make sure the chocolate, marshmallows, and butter you use are all vegan! I love and recommend Dandies vegan marshmallows and Miyoko’s vegan butter.

Make it Gluten-Free: Replace the graham crackers with gluten-free Simple Mill’s Honey Cinnamon Sweet Thins.

Make it Nut-Free: Use nut-free graham crackers/cookies!

close-up image of a s'mores rice crispy treat on a baking sheet.

Tips For Making S’mores Rice Crispy Treats

  • Move quickly when adding the melted marshmallow mixture into the cereal mixture. The melted marshmallows will immediately start to cool once removed from the heat. And you’ll notice that as soon as they cool, they also begin to seize up and can be quite difficult to work with.
  • Spray a little cooking oil on your hands before handling the treats! I like to sprits a little cooking oil on one hand and then rub them together right before transferring the treats to the baking dish.
  • Similar to your hands, spray a little cooking oil on your knife before slicing! A greased knife will glide through these s’mores rice crispy treats. However, an un-greased knife will almost certainly get stuck and struggle to make it through your treats!

S’mores Rice Crispy Treats (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Samantha Course: DessertDifficulty: Easy
Servings

12

treats
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes
Total time

15

minutes

These s’mores rice crispy treats are insanely delicious and super easy to make! They’re loaded with gluten-free cookies, crisp rice cereal, gooey melted marshmallow, and plenty of chocolate chips.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag marshmallows

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1 cup rice cereal

  • 1 cup graham crackers, crushed

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  • Line a 9×9-inch baking dish with parchment paper, then melt butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Mix together the rice cereal, crushed graham crackers, and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  • Add melted marshmallows to the cereal mixture, mix well.
  • Transfer treats mixture to your lined baking dish and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before slicing.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Optional Step: Top finished treats off with an extra sprinkling of crushed graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. Then place it in the oven on broil for 1 minute or until marshmallows are golden brown and toasty!

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Other Vegan and Gluten-Free Desserts

Cool and refreshing frozen daiquiri, with a secret ingredient! My Mom’s famous recipe for this best EVER frozen cocktail. Just four ingredients, perfectly sweet, and totally delicious.

two frozen daiquiris with fresh limes on the side

The Secret Ingredient: Coconut Rum

A few weeks ago, my Mom had the genius idea to swap out regular rum in her frozen daiquris for coconut rum. And boy, it made allllll the difference! A hint of coconut in this tropical cocktail left everyone asking “what is that?! that’s DELICIOUS!” It’s sort of like a cross between a classic daiquiri and a piña colada. The coconut is light, not at all overpowering, and simply perfect.

My Mom – a fan of the finer things in life – uses an exclusive small-batch brand of coconut rum. But let me tell you, I recreated her recipe with this Bacardi Coconut Rum (purchased for $15!) and my frozen daiquiris tasted just as good!

closeup image of a frozen daiquiri with limes on the side.

What Else You’ll Need to Make a Frozen Daiquiri

Lime Juice – Fresh squeezed is best! My Mom insists on using freshly-squeezed juice in all of her cocktails. And I must admit, fresh squeezed lime juice makes a world of a difference in these frozen daiquiris!

Simple Syrup or Agave – Feel free to use whichever you have on-hand! I used agave nectar because it’s what I had leftover from these Skinny Strawberry Margaritas.

Ice – This one seems pretty self-explanatory, ha! Though I will say, if you’d like a frozen strawberry daiquri instead, replace the ice with two cups of frozen strawberries.

Blender – I own and LOVE my Vitamix blender. It’s super powerful, and there truly isn’t anything it can’t blend. However, any blender will work to blend this frozen cocktail. You could even use a Nutribullet for easier cleanup!

overhead image of a frozen daiquiri with a lime on top.

Adjust This Recipe to Your Dietary Needs

Make it Sugar-Free: For a sugar-free option, replace the simple syrup with your favorite sugar-free liquid sweetener.

Make it a Mocktail: Turn this into a delicious non-alcoholic frozen beverage by using equal parts coconut water in place of the coconut rum!

Mom’s BEST Frozen Daiquiri

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Samantha Course: DrinksDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

daiquiris
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking time

0

minutes
Total time

3

minutes

Cool and refreshing frozen daiquiris, with a secret ingredient! My Mom’s famous recipe for this best EVER frozen cocktail. Just four ingredients, perfectly sweet, and totally delicious.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces coconut rum

  • 2 ounces lime juice

  • 1 1/2 ounces simple syrup (or agave)

  • 2 cups ice

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, serve immediately.

Recipe Video

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How to make pickles in a matter of minutes! This quick, homemade pickle brine is loaded with flavor, and made to preserve freshness. These pickles are perfectly salty, and extra crunchy!

three jars of pickles line up on a table.

What You’ll Need

Cucumbers – Either pickling cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, or an English cucumber will work! For pickling or Persian cucumbers, I recommend cutting them into spears before pickling. Though for an English cucumber, those are better sliced into 1/4-inch rounds. I use and recommend pickling cucumbers because they maintain their shape and satisfying crunch, even after pickled. However, Persian or an English cucumber still taste just as delicious using this method!

Fresh Dill – You simply can’t make pickles without fresh dill! A few sprigs of this herb help to lock in freshness and pack in tons of delicious flavor.

Garlic – Three whole cloves of garlic truly take this recipe to the next level! The pickling liquid aids in mellowing out that tangy garlic flavor, leaving you with the best essence of garlic throughout your pickles. And if you’re like me (a garlic LOVER), feel free to throw in a few extra cloves!

overhead image of pickles with garlic and fresh dill.

Vinegar – Vinegar plus water is the base of any pickling liquid. I’ve tried this recipe with pretty much every type of vinegar out there. Apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, white vinegar, rice wine vinegar – you name it, I’ve tried it! And while they all taste delicious, apple cider and white wine vinegars are my personal favorites. Though use whichever you have on-hand and/or whichever you prefer.

Salt – For extra salty pickles, add two whole teaspoons of salt to your brine. Or, for a more mild pickle, add just one teaspoon of salt. I like ultra-savory pickles – you know, the ones that make your mouth water just thinking about them – so two teaspoons did the trick for me!

Yellow Mustard Seed – While optional, a pinch of whole yellow mustard seeds add a hint of spice. A few seeds go a long way, packing in tons of flavor!

a pickle being lifted out of a jar of pickles.

Tips and Tricks on How to Make Pickles

  • Clean/rinse out your mason jars well before adding in your pickles. A clean glass jar will reduce the risk of any unwanted bacteria growing while your pickles, well… pickle. The best way to achieve an extra-clean mason jar is by rinsing it out with boiling hot water – this’ll kill most, if not all bacteria!
  • Homemade pickles will last up to three month in the fridge! And remember, the longer these pickles sit in their brine, the tastier they’ll be. But if you live in my house, you’ll know these don’t last more than ONE WEEK.
  • Feel free to switch up the ingredients in this recipe however you’d like! For spicy pickles, add in a pinch of red pepper flakes. Or, for sweet pickles, sprinkle in a teaspoon of sugar.

*These homemade pickles are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and paleo!

How to Make Pickles

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Samantha Course: Snacks, SidesDifficulty: Easy
Servings

10

servings
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking time

2

minutes
Total time

7

minutes

How to make pickles in a matter of minutes! This quick, homemade pickle brine is loaded with flavor, and made to preserve freshness. These pickles are perfectly salty, and extra crunchy!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 small pickling cucumbers, cut into spears (or 1 English cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch rounds)

  • 4-5 sprigs fresh dill

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup vinegar, such as white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

  • 1-2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds

Directions

  • Place cut cucumber, fresh dill, garlic cloves, and whole yellow mustard seed into one large glass jar, or separate into 2 smaller glass jars.
  • Heat water, vinegar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until salt has dissolved completely.
  • Pour water mixture into jar(s) until cucumbers are completely covered. Secure jar with lid, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.

Recipe Video

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Crunchy peanut butter balls covered in chocolate! Perfectly sweet, surprisingly healthy, and super easy to make. This no-bake dessert is the perfect summer treat when it’s too hot to turn on the oven!

crunchy peanut butter balls stacked on parchment paper with milk on the side.

What You’ll Need to Make Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls

Creamy Peanut Butter – Unsweetened, creamy peanut butter is the base of this easy dessert recipe. Check your peanut butter labels closely and make sure it doesn’t contain any sugar! Added sugar in the peanut butter would totally throw off the sweetness in this recipe. For unsweetened peanut butter, I love both Trader Joe’s and Teddie’s brand.

Maple Syrup – Really any liquid sweetener will work in these peanut butter balls. Maple syrup, along with honey and date syrup, are the three least processed options which is why I always use and recommend them. Though is you don’t have those, you can use agave nectar instead. Or, for a sugar-free dessert option, check the “Make it Sugar-Free” section below!

Almond Flour – This gluten-free, low-carb flour is one of my favorites! It’s healthy, super easy to find, and virtually flavorless. The almond flour is also super helpful in holding these dessert balls together, so don’t go without it.

Crispy Rice Cereal – One cup of crispy rice cereal gives these peanut butter balls their unexpected crunch! Feel free to use whichever brand you like best. Or, for an even healthier option, use one cup of puffed quinoa instead.

overhead image of crunchy peanut butter balls on an upside-down pie pan.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t feel like dipping in chocolate? Save major time and energy my melting the chocolate, then simply drizzling over the top of each ball!
  • For an extra salty plus sweet combo, finish off these crunchy no-bake peanut butter balls with a pinch of flaky sea salt! A bit of salt balances out the sweetness, and adds an extra layer of crunch.
  • These treats are best stored in the refrigerator! The freezer works too, but the fridge helps them hold their shape while also maintaining their crunchiness. But whatever you do, don’t store them at room-temperature, and especially not in the summertime because they will melt!
a stack of no-bake peanut butter balls, one with a bite taken out.

Adjust This Recipe To Your Dietary Needs

Make it Nut-Free: For a nut-free no-bake dessert, sub sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter and 3 tablespoons of coconut flour in place of the almond flour! Still just as delicious, and totally nut-free friendly.

Make it Sugar-Free: Replace the maple syrup in this recipe with your favorite liquid sugar-free sweetener.

Crunchy No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Samantha Course: Dessert, SnacksDifficulty: Easy
Servings

16

balls
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

0

minutes
Total time

10

minutes

Crunchy peanut butter balls covered in chocolate! Perfectly sweet, surprisingly healthy, and super easy to make. This no-bake dessert is the perfect summer treat when it’s too hot to turn on the oven!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, unsweetened

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal

  • For dipping/drizzling:
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions

  • Mix together the creamy peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
  • Add in almond flour and crispy rice cereal, mix to combine.
  • Scoop and roll tablespoon-sized balls of the peanut butter ball mixture between the palms of your hands. Repeat this process until no more mixture remains, should make about 12 crunchy peanut butter balls.
  • Place balls in freezer for 10-15 minutes, and add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a small bowl. Microwave chocolate in 30 second increments until fully melted.
  • Once crunchy peanut butter balls are chilled, dip or drizzle with melted chocolate before placing back in the freezer. Freeze for at least 10 minutes before eating, then store in the fridge.

Recipe Video

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