Zucchini Mushroom Pepper Boats with Mozzarella


When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” C.S. Lewis

I finished this C.S. Lewis novel tonight, my friend Kendra’s favorite (p.s., for context, this is the friend Kendra who sent me this scone recipe last year and who cooked dinner and talked business with me in my kitchen last summer and who runs a bakery subscription company for fangirls in North Carolina because she is just that cool and Linchpin-y).

Because the book club I’m reading the book with doesn’t meet until next Wednesday, I’ve now spent the better part of the evening Googling articles and reading commentaries and generally staring at the walls thinking, “Woah, what am I even thinking about this story?”

This is a common experience for me, maybe you too, wherein I think something or feel something and it’s 100 percent real and 100 percent happening but it’s real and it’s happening deep enough inside of me that I almost don’t understand it, so when I try to articulate it into words, I babble and struggle trying to make it ring true.

Flannery O’Connor said, “I write to discover what I know.” Most times I come to this space, I feel like that. When I look at pictures of roasted zucchini slices piled with sauteéd vegetables and broiled cheese, I’m trying hard as I can to write the very thing I really mean beneath the zucchini slices, maybe because it happened the same day, maybe because it happened the same moments.

I’m trying to push to that place where I write something I can read back over and think, “Ah, yes! That is the thing I am trying to say!”

This happens maybe one in one hundred times, but when it happens, I feel this flash of euphoria like I’m a fisherman catching a giant musky or a mother catching her toddler child folding his hands at the table, where briefly, just for that moment, I am tasting something I was always hoping to be able to do, seeing something I was always hoping to be able to see.

There are precious few of us who yet have faces, who are able to speak, even in a blog post or for a moment, without pretense or posturing, altogether guileless and pure. We are all of us so stuck in masks we don’t know we’re wearing!

We’re babbling things we think we mean! I wonder sometimes if I could even handle hearing myself speak what is in my heart. Imagine if we all did. Would we be ashamed at jealousy and bitterness and selfish ambition coming out of us, for everyone to hear?

Would we justify ourselves then? Nonetheless, I long for the light. May this blog be a space where I push ever further, if fractionally, if still veiled-face, towards it.

So some things I think have been occupying my mind lately:

  • This song, on repeat, all afternoon, recommended by this sweet blog
  • A second read through this book
  • At the park yesterday: “Ugh, do you smell that?” “It smells like dog poop.” “Um, guuuuuys?”
  • This honest and funny post
  • New glasses that pulled me to the mirror all day. Have you heard of David Kind already?
  • “We overpraise ourselves. We can never overpraise Jesus.”
  • this gorgeous new cookbook
  • and this gorgeous new cookbook!
  • Land vs. house
  • Sleep vs. late-night drives
  • Laundry all over the bedroom
  • Two-hour passionate phone calls that have me apologizing for my harsh words
  • You will never esteem and seek grace until you finally admit that sin is a problem you have no ability whatsoever to solve. (Paul Tripp)

aaaaaand vertically sliced zucchini, roasted for 15 minutes in oil, salt and pepper, topped with a sauteéd hash of diced bell pepper and mushrooms, topped with cheese, broiled for five minutes. We’re eating grain-free for the rest of the month, which is a season where vegetable-heavy, cheese-topped dishes like this one are best born. And as far as non-bread, non-grain, vegetable pizzas go, this one’s tops.


It’s hard for me to mark a serving size for recipes like this one, which could just as easily serve two for dinner alongside roasted cauliflower like it did for us last night as it could serve four as a side dish alongside a heftier main course. There’s also the one-person giant snack option that one of us (me!) utilized Saturday afternoon while Tim was at work. Use it as you will.

Zucchini Mushroom Pepper Boats with Mozzarella


  • 2 zucchini squash
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 5 (145 g) baby bella or cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 (100 g) bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper
  • 75 g mozzarella, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a 9″ x 13″ pan (We have a crazy electric stove that radiates heat through the back burner, so we just set the pan on that, but you could stick the pan in the oven for a minute or two to melt it just as easily).
  2. Slice zucchini squash vertically to make 3 or 4 slices from each one. Lay slices (skin side up for end pieces) on pan of coconut oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, warm the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, remaining salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes. Saute for about 10 minutes, until golden and soft. Remove from heat.
  4. Remove zucchini from oven, flip over carefully, add mushroom/pepper mixture and top with mozzarella slices. Broil for 5 minutes on high.
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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

30 thoughts on “Zucchini Mushroom Pepper Boats with Mozzarella”

    • This book is right up your alley then! (If you haven’t already read it.) So many thoughts and questions afterwards.

  1. Mmm, I’ve been dreaming of zucchini lately…and just waiting for it to hit the farm stands!

    And goodness, your entire post resonated so deep. So TRUE about the masks we all wear, and only the pure truth and light of Jesus can gently show us a different way.

  2. I feel this way so often and get so frustrated at conversations that feel unreal and masked. Thank you for reminding me though that I may be being more masked than I would like to admit, too.

  3. had some zucchini last night and LOVED IT. now i’m all up in the mood for MOARRRR ZUCCHINI!! also these photos are so pretty.

  4. Shanna, I was on a blog/social media break for 3 months, so I haven’t been visiting my favorite blogs in a while. Reading this makes me remember why writing is important, why blogging is important, and why I started my blog in the first place. And no, not for the zucchini. XOXO

    • Stephanie! Taking a little break every now and then is so wise. I often feel a similar need. I’m thankful this post resonated with you and that it was a comfort in the coming back. Big hug to you! -s

  5. Brava on your aim to move towards the light; I think if we all did that just a little bit more, there would be so much more honesty and openness in the world.

    • I wish I could say it’s because there’s something praise-worthy in my moving, but honestly I often feel there are hands taking hold of me and showing me what the light is like. And once you taste the light, how can you but love it?

  6. Fittingly, there are so many ways I want to say YES to this post, but I can’t quite sort out how to say it best and really tell you how deep this message lives in me. And how much it holds me back!

    • In the context of writing, I couldn’t agree more. At least for me, the babble is the path to anything but it on the page.

      also ps I am seriously thinking about that hamper.

  7. Totally get what you mean about us babbling what we think we mean. Sometimes, we write for the sake of writing something, anything, but just like you, I want to write because I mean it, and I want the tiny space i take up on the internet to be something of significance to whoever it is reading it. Writing is a gift that helps us discover who we are, our thoughts, things stuck so deep within us that speaking cannot bring them out. And I’m so glad you write, and that I get to read what you write.


    • I want this tiny space to be significant, too. Isn’t that interesting? We are, all of us, hungry for significance. We want to matter. We want what we do to matter.

  8. sometimes i think my head is going to explode from all the thinking i do before i start writing, as i’m writing, once i’m through writing, and all that thinking, besides how exhausting it is, really manages to fog the truth. we bite our tongues and wordsmith so often because of how scary it is to say the wrong thing or to come off in a light we’re too afraid to stand in. this post was so comforting and real — thank you for both writing it and sharing it.

    • Sylvie, You hit the nail on the head about fear. It’s scary to be exposed in the light! And yet it’s so much sweeter because, well, you can SEE and also because of Who else is there, too.

  9. I was thinking about this just yesterday, about how I am so rarely actually saying what I really want to say. Not that I’m intentionally leaving out things or putting on a front, but that I get caught up in saying what comes natural because I’ve read it on a thousand other blogs, rather than from my heart and where I’m really at. I so appreciate your words and the way your write so honestly. You inspire me!

    • It’s a lot easier to say what everybody else is saying — easier for my mind and easier for the sake of how others respond — but it’s so much more meaningful and satisfying when someone hits truer and deeper. I long for those moments! They are such gifts.


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