Roasted Zucchini & Pistachio Gratin by Chef Gerald Hirigoyen

Serves 4

4 zucchini (medium-sized)
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
2 small garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup goat cheese (mild, creamy)
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated sheep milk’s cheese
4 large basil leaves, very thinly sliced


Pre-heat an oven to 400 degrees F.

To prepare the zucchini shells, cut off and discard the ends of each zucchini. Slice each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, gently scrape the zucchini flesh out onto a chopping board. Coarsely chop the flesh and set aside.

Pour 1/3 cup olive oil in the bottom of a large, oven-proof, gratin dish and place hollowed out zucchini shells in the dish and sprinkle with salt to taste.

To prepare the zucchini filling, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the zucchini flesh and continue to sauté until zucchini is soft, approximately 3 - 4 minutes. Transfer ingredients to a shallow bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.

When cool, gently stir the goat cheese, basil and pistachio kernels into the zucchini filling and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the filling in equal amounts into each zucchini shell. Sprinkle the sheep’s milk cheese evenly across the top of all the zucchini. Place dish in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve immediately*

(*this dish may be served either hot or at room temperature)

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!