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Zucchini "Apple" Crisp

Zucchini "Apple" Crisp
(contributed by CSA member Lisa Christensen)
Serves 6-8
Description: Just when I thought I had exhausted every zucchini recipe, a friend of mine told me that she had seen one for zucchini "apple" crisp years ago. Challenge accepted! I made my husband taste it first, and when he asked if we could eat the entire dish for dinner - it is a vegetable, after all - I knew we had a winner! This is a great use of zucchini when it is bountiful in the garden!
8 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 red apple, unpeeled, cored, and thinly sliced (optional but helps create apple crisp illusion)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
⅔ cup date paste or maple syrup
¾ cup gluten-free oats, ground into a rustic flour
¾ cup pecans or walnuts (or a combination), chopped
2 Tbsp coconut butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup, or other whole food sweetener (honey or date paste)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Reyna Mexican vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350℉. Lightly coat a 9x11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
Choose zucchini that are large enough to mimic an apple shape. Peel (this is critical), then slice the zucchini lengthwise. "Core" the zucchini by scooping the center with a spoon to create and apple shape, then cut into ⅛ to ¼-inch slices (a mandolin slicer helps here). Place zucchini slices and optional apple slices into a large bowl and add cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and sweetener. Combine thoroughly, then transfer to the baking dish.
To prepare the topping, process the oats and pecans in a food processor. Add the softened coconut butter, sweetener, vanilla and cinnamon and pulse just to combine (Note: if you don't have a processor, just chop pecans and mix ingredients in a bowl). Sprinkle the oat crumbles onto the filling and bake for 45 minutes, until the zucchini is soft and the topping is lightly toasted. Serve warm as a dessert, snack, or even breakfast. 
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