Moorish Stuffed Zucchini

By • August 4, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: The name's a pun--this recipe is both Moorish in its flavors, and More-ish in its appeal; the combination of simple ingredients work synergistically, yielding nuanced and compelling tastes. In other words, it's hard to stop with just one serving.
This vegetarian dish became a family favorite during one summer when friends and neighbors repeatedly gifted us with oversized know, the size of baseball bats. One can only make so much zucchini bread! The inspiration came from Eva Zane's "Middle Eastern Cookery."
This filling is open to improvisation: I like a cracked wheat and green lentil combination, but have also enjoyed it with brown rice, barley, or whole wheat couscous, paired with small beans such as pintos or black beans.
This also freezes well.


Serves 8

  • 2 Large zucchini, about 3/4 lb each
  • 2 cups Cooked whole grains
  • 2 cups Cooked beans or pulses
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 3 Celery stalks, diced
  • 1 Garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/3 cup Each chopped fresh parsley and chives
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Each salt, ground black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and thyme, or to taste
  • 1 dash Each ground allspice and cloves
  • 1 cup Shredded extra sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup Toasted chopped walnuts
  1. Scrub the zucchini well, trim the stem end, and slice in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down in a microwave safe dish, add 1/3 cup water, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. (Alternately, the zucchini can be blanched in boiling water to cover for 3 minutes.). Let cool, cut side up.
  2. Scoop out the pulp of the zucchini, leaving a 1/2 inch shell. Place the shells in a greased baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Set aside.
  3. Remove any large seeds from the pulp and discard. Chop the pulp into 1/4 inch dice and place into a large bowl. Add the cooked grains and cooked beans and combine. Set aside.
  4. In a sauté pan heat the olive oil until sizzling. Add the chopped celery and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until the celery is tender. Add to the grain and bean mixture and combine.
  5. Add the chopped herbs, lemon juice, and spices to the filling mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings. When the flavors are deep, savory, exotic, mysterious--it's stuffing time.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spoon the filling into the zucchini shells, pressing down and packing it, and gradually mounding the filling. Be generous. Any extra filling can be eaten as is, stuffed into a tomato or pepper and baked alongside the zucchini, or baked in a small greased casserole..
  7. Top the zucchini with the shredded cheese, pressing down so it sticks. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top, pressing them down so they stay put.
  8. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is browned and the filling is hot. Cut into sections and serve with a tomato salad.

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