Thursday, October 11, 2007

Couscous-Stuffed Globe Zucchini

I bought some globe zucchini at the market a while back and completely forgot about them due to my lack of cooking for a while after the aforementioned cocktail party and other events on the weekends. Thankfully, zucchini last a while in the fridge. But they don’t last forever, and so I had to do something with them this week.

Over the past month or so, I’ve seen a bunch of recipes for stuffed zucchini, but none of them appealed to me – either the flavors were just not up my alley or they used merguez or some other sort of sausage (definitely NOT up my alley). I decided to stop looking for inspiration elsewhere and be original by modifying and re-purposing my own recipe for a Mediterranean couscous salad that I normally utilize as a light summer lunch.

The result is a wonderful late summer/early fall supper that not only tastes marvelous, but also looks very impressive on the dinner plate. (And yes, I know it’s almost mid-October and therefore not late summer/early fall, but it was 92 degrees here yesterday…and somehow today it was only 65 degrees…hello global warming.)


Couscous-Stuffed Globe Zucchini
vegan if not using cheese
serves 3-4

6 medium sized globe zucchini
½ cup couscous (you can use nearly any small grain; I've been using quinoa lately to make this gluten-free)
¾ cup cooked chickpeas
¼ cup diced roasted yellow or orange peppers (if you can’t find these, you can substitute roasted red peppers)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt


Slice off the tops off the zucchini. If the zucchini roll over, slice a little bit off the bottom so that they will. Using a small spoon, carve out the innards, leaving a wall that is about ¼” thick.

Finely chop the innards – you will have 2 – 2 ½ cups.

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chopped zucchini and cook until most of the liquid has cooked off and the zucchini has completely softened, about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, bring ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid. When the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the couscous and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot and let it sit for 6 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Add the cooked zucchini and let stand for a few minutes to cool slightly.  Add the chickpeas, roasted peppers, parsley, raisins, feta cheese (if using), salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix well and add more salt if needed. (You can stop here and keep this mixture refrigerated overnight.)

Heat an oven to 375° F.

Generously sprinkle the insides of the hollowed-out zucchini with salt. Stuff them with the couscous mixture, making sure to press down on the filling. Rub the outsides of the zucchini with extra virgin olive oil.

Arrange the stuffed zucchini on a foil-lined baking sheet and cover the pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the zucchini are baking, mix together the panko, oil, parsley, and salt.

After the zucchini have baked for 30 minutes,  remove the foil and sprinkle the tops with the panko mixture. Return the pan to the oven and bake uncovered until the panko is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.


Pitt Stains said...

Hey, cool blog! I'm diggin' the raspberry and zucchini colors. :-)

While I marvel at your culinary creations, I've only been in the kitchen once this month (and, um, the month is half over...).

Thought you might find this Baltimore-specific vegetarian restaurant guide useful for times when cooking isn't an option. My continued existence pretty much depends on it.

Nabeela said...

I love globe zucchinis....but I've always been scared of stuffed vegetable recipes, don't know why!

Pink Thumb said...

Allow me to recommend this recipe.

My GF's husband is a vegetarian and loves this dish.

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