Creamy, bite sized vegetable bombs. When my neighbors kids wolfed these down for an afternoon snack, I figured it was a good recipe to post. Zucchini roll ups with goat cheese make a great appetizer for all ages. Try them when friends come for dinner and for healthy game day snacks.
Recipe Born From Necessity
Heading out of town for vacation, I was trying to use up what we had in the refrigerator so as little as possible went to waste. Trying to decide what to do with a couple of zucchini were in the vegetable drawer, I thought about grilling or quick sauté. But how about stuffing and rolling the slices?
Creating Zucchini Roll Slices
Using a mandolin, I sliced whole zucchini into long, thin slices 1/8″ thick. You could use any kind of a hand slicer that gives you clean, even slices.
Mandolins come in all price ranges, from $15 to more than $100. Buy what suits your budget and cooking needs. Do a search on Amazon or check with your local kitchen store.
If you have a small kitchen, they usually fold flat (or are already flat) and don’t take up much space. They are handy for slicing all kinds of vegetables.
Getting the Slices to Roll Without Breaking
Raw zucchini slices do not roll easily. Even thinly sliced, they can break. To soften slices enough to roll, I tried two methods.
First I briefly broiled them, but they shrank up so much there was not much left to roll. Next, I though about grilling them, but decided against that as not everyone has a grill or year round grilling weather.
The method that worked best was simply salting the slices and waiting a few minutes (10-12) until the slices softened, the pressing them dry between layers of paper towels to get rid of excess moisture. The slices did not shrink up and rolled easily once filled.
I also learned that if you let them sit too long with salt, they will get too soft and be mushy instead of soft and pliable.
Goat Cheese Filling
For the filling, warmed up goat cheese blends more easily than cold. Remove any plastic wrap and allow the cheese to sit on the counter for about 20 minutes. Then add it to a small bowl and stir in a little milk, olive oil, chopped chives and lemon zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To add more color and crunch, add thin strips of vegetables, sprouts and chives when you roll the rolls. I used raw carrot and bell pepper, plus some sprouts and herbs from my garden pots.
Tip – Not a fan of goat cheese? Try softened cream cheese or whipped cream cheese, which is easier to spread.
After slicing the zucchini, salting and drying the slices, place about 2 teaspoons of the filling on the slices and spread over the length. Next, space out fine strips of raw carrot and raw red bell pepper, then fill in with a few strips of chives. I had a few basil leaves left in the garden, so I used them up too. Smaller leaves worked better. If all you have is larger ones, cut them down to size.
A Few Tips
Choose medium zucchini, about 7-8 ounces in size. You can slice them ahead of time, just don’t salt them until you are ready to complete the zucchini roll ups. If you slice them ahead, roll them in paper towels then wrap them tightly so they don’t dry out. This also might reduce the drying time.
The first slices won’t be usable. Save them for chopping up and adding to a green salad.
Zucchini Roll Ups with Goat Cheese
- 2 medium zucchini about 7 ounces each
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- a handful of micro greens or soft sprouts optional
- 1 small log goat cheese about 5 ounces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 12 small thin chives to use in rolls
- 1 package basil leaves
- Place the goat cheese, olive oil, milk, lemon zest, chives, salt, pepper and granulated garlic in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until soft and smooth.
- Trim ends off zucchini. With a mandolin or other hand held slicing tool, slice zucchini into 1/8″thick strips. You should get about 12 strips. Place zucchini on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt. Let the strips sit with the salt about 10-12 minutes, or just until they are soft and pliable. Wipe off the salt and pat the slices dry in more paper towels.
- Lay the slices flat, and spread end to end with about 2 teaspoons of the filling.
- To the slices add carrot, bell pepper, sprouts, chives and basil, spacing them out across the zucchini slice. See photo in the post for guidance. Roll from the smaller end first.
- Set rolls either upright or flat to serve.