Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

Gluten-Free, Vegan, Main dishes

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

Aside from these stuffed zucchini, I’ve got two more recipes lined up for you before I’m ready to move on to fall produce. I do realize that fall starts today and you’re probably salivating for apples and butternut squash already. But let’s hold on to summer for a little longer shall we? Don’t get me wrong. The changing leaves, the comforting soups, the crisp air: I love it all. But I didn’t take vacation this summer (except a short camping trip), so I guess the season sneaked out while my mind was occupied by other things. It’s no secret that I love stuffed vegetables, and these zucchini stuffed with Middle Eastern flavours came together naturally last month. They can easily be turned vegan and gluten-free so make sure to scroll down and read the notes if that’s what you’re after.

 

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • ⅔ cup medium grain bulgur (use quinoa for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 ⅓ cup water
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted and divided
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • ½ sweet pepper, chopped
  • Large handful cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup currants or raisins
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For serving:

  • Plain yogurt (read note for vegan version)
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Reserved toasted almonds (see above)

 

In a medium pot, bring 1 1/3 cup water to boil. Add bulgur and a good pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for another few minutes, then transfer into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, prep the zucchini. Cut the ends off and slice them in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh leaving about half a centimetre. Keep the flesh of one zucchini for this recipe, chop it and add it to the mixing bowl with the bulgur. Reserve the flesh of the other three zucchini for later use – in tomorrow morning’s smoothie, perhaps (I used it in a carrot & sweet potato soup I made the next day).

 

Preheat oven at 425F. Arrange the zucchini on a large baking dish. Brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

 

Finalize the stuffing. In the mixing bowl with the bulgur and zucchini flesh, add all remaining ingredients (1/2 cup toasted almonds, sweet peppers, onions, garlic, currants, cilantro, spices, lemon juice and olive oil). Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stuff each zucchini with a generous amount of the bulgur salad.

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the zucchini flesh is tender but still holds its shape.

Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini 

Serve topped with plain yogurt, toasted almonds and cilantro leaves. For a vegan version, read note below.

 
Middle Eastern Stuffed Zucchini

Notes:

  1. For a vegan version, omit the yogurt and make a quick sauce: 3 parts tahini, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part water, pinch salt
  2. This dish can easily be made gluten-free by using quinoa instead of bulgur
  3. You can absolutely roast the zucchini separately and stuff them once they are out of the oven. Note, however, that the flavours of the bulgur salad will be sharper, more garlicky
  4. The stuffing is delicious on its own and you can eat it as a salad (though refer to point #3)

Serves 4-6

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