When these round zucchinis started appearing everywhere it was only a matter of time until I stuffed them. Otherwise why would they be so round?!
These stuffed vegetables were baked, which is a little unusual. How does rice soften in the oven when it’s not drowning in liquid?! Well it does, it just needs a little help from you.
I found this recipe in Tessa Kiros’ lovely book , an unusual woman with unusual cookbooks.
After a few modifications and some trial and error it’s ready to share. If you follow along the steps you’ll get a wonderful pan of stuffed vegetables (that even kids like) and that are somewhat dramatic looking.
Baked Stuffed Vegetables
Makes about 15
I use brown rice but the original recipe called for white rice. The brown rice needs to be baked longer but it also retains its texture better.
This is not the right recipe to cut back on the oil – it’s there to make sure your vegetables are shiny and flavorful.
They need a little time to rest before serving so make them ahead of time, even a day in advance. Excellent lukewarm or cold – actually just excellent period.
For the stuffing:
7 oz / 200 gr. ground beef
½ cup brown short grain rice
1 large onion – grated
1 small bunch parsley – finely chopped
1 tomato – grated, no peel
1 heaping teaspoon dried mint
1 heaping teaspoon paprika
salt (generously) and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Optional- some finely chopped zucchini meat
For the sauce:
1 cup tomato- juices and meat from the tomatoes (see below)
juice from half a large lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
~1 cup water
½ teaspoon sugar
6 round zucchinis
4 large firm tomatoes
3 long zucchinis
a handful of cherry tomatoes- optional
Empty the vegetables -
Round Zucchinis: Cut the tops and empty the middle with a watermelon scooper
Long Zucchinis: Cut a ‘cap’ from the length of the zucchini and carefully scrape out the flesh.
Tomatoes: Cut the tops and scoop the inside- juice, seeds and pulp. Reserve for the sauce.
Peppers: Cut away the top of each pepper and scoop out the seeds.
Heat the oven to 400 f / 200 c.
Mix together the stuffing ingredients.
Arrange all the vegetables in a large pan for stuffing. Season lightly with salt, especially the tomatoes. Fill the vegetables, about ¾ of the way full.
Mix sauce ingredients and drizzle about half of it over the vegetables. Cover with the matching caps and drizzle the rest of the sauce on top. Season again with some salt and pepper and place in the preheated oven.
While baking, it’s important to drizzle the vegetables with the sauce that accumulates at the bottom of the pan. If you’re feeling especially generous add bits of butter (1 oz in total) on top. If the vegetables are browning at too rapid a pace you can cover the pan with tinfoil.
How long? An hour and a half for regular rice and 2 hours for brown rice.
After the baking time is up , leave the pan in the still warm oven, covered with tinfoil, for further softening.