This stuffed zucchini and eggplant recipe is perfect as a side dish or main. Mixed with different vegetables and herbs, it’s both nutritious and delicious. This is a hearty oven-baked zucchini recipe that your kids will love.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1¼ hours
- 4 small zucchini
- 4 small eggplants
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
- ½ cup firmly packed (25 g) mint leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup firmly packed (25 g) flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 250 g plant-based mince
- 2 x 400 g tins crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ⅔ cup (135 g) long-grain rice
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a large ovenproof dish.
- Slice the zucchini in half crossways, then slice a small round off each half and set aside to use as lids to enclose the stuffing. Remove the insides of the zucchini using a knife and a spoon, leaving a 2 mm border (this can be tough, but stick at it!). Place the zucchini shells in the ovenproof dish and put the scooped-out flesh in the bowl of a food processor.
- Slice off and reserve the eggplant tops. Remove the insides of the eggplants, leaving a 2 mm border. Add the shells to the dish with the zucchini. Add the eggplant flesh to the food processor bowl with the zucchini flesh and blitz until finely chopped.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, chilli, mint and parsley for 3–4 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the chopped zucchini and eggplant and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Add the mince and break it up into smaller pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the mince has browned and cooked through and there is minimal liquid at the base of the pan. Season again with salt and pepper. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano and cook until heated through. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes (it will finish cooking in the oven). Remove from the heat.
- Fill the zucchini and eggplant shells with the mince mixture, add the vegetable lids and secure each one with a toothpick. Season the zucchini and eggplant with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Tightly cover the dish with foil and bake for 45–50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Images and text from Good Food Made Simple by Leah Itsines, photography by Ben. Murdoch Books RRP $36.99.
Leah Itsines is a self-taught Aussie cook and #1 best-selling author. She has two online food programs that are changing women’s lives all over the world.
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