Stuffed Zucchini

Basics:

Start by preparing gutting the zucchini and preparing the couscous. From there you make the couscous salad, which you’ll use to fill the zucchini before baking them. The couscous salad will not all fit in the zucchini, which means you’ll have plenty left over for garnish, as a side dish. After baking the zucchini, I like to garnish them with some fresh mint still on the branch. It looks really nice when you serve it this way.

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4 round zucchini

hollowed out (save the innards for the filling) 

For the couscous:

  • 230g couscous
  • 300ml water or broth boiling.
  • 1Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • Salt to taste 

For the couscous salad / filling:

  • Innards from the zucchini
  • 1 mid-sized tomato
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 large handful of mint leaves
  • 1 large handful of fresh, chopped cilantro
  • 1 large handful fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Tajine
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black-white pepper
  • Optional: 1 large handful of lemon-basil

Directions

  1. Prepare the zucchini: chop off the top of the zucchini and remove the interior vegetable matter with a spoon. Make sure to leave enough thickness to support the filling. Basically, you’re removing the seeds and surrounding matter. You should notice a difference in the consistency of the material you remove from the material you leave, with the outer walls being denser. To be sure, start in the middle and work your way down and outward. Save the material you remove for the couscous filling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C convection)
  3. Prepare the couscous: cook the couscous with a tablespoon of oil or butter and a little salt on high heat in a medium-sized pot, stirring often (this roasting causes the couscous to open up and really soak up the liquid). After a few minutes (when you can smell the couscous roasting), shut off the stove and remove the pot from the hot stovetop. Add boiling broth/water. Cover and let steep for 8 to 10 minutes. After the time is up, use a fork to loosen the couscous up and remove any clumps. 
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the tomato paste and mix it with the oil. Add the onion and green onion. Cook briefly, without allowing the onions to caramelize. Add the zucchini innards and cook for a few minutes. Once the zucchini is softened, add the lemon lemon juice, mint, cilantro, parsley, and any other seasonings (salt, black/white pepper, lemon-basil, chili, garlic, tajine are all good choices). Cook briefly until the zucchini is done. Add the couscous and cook for a few minutes, stirring often. If it starts to stick to the pan, you can add a little water or oil, but adding too much will make it mushy, so use caution. Once it is well mixed, you are ready to fill the zucchini. 
  5. Fill each hollowed-out zucchini with the couscous salad from the skillet, adding filling until it is level with the cut. Feel free to use a spoon to gently press it into place. Replace the top, and brush with olive oil (some freshly ground salt on the outside is lovely too). Bake for 20-25 minutes 170°C (150°C convection).

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