Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chickpea-Quinoa Stuffed Round Zucchini

A hidden surprise is always appreciated in the face of disappointment. This was the case during the last trip to the farmers market, where I anxiously hoped for more ramps. It had already become too hot for them during the last week, so no ramps were to be found. What was there, however, were these cute little Italian round zucchinis! I took one look at them and knew they were meant to be used as little bowls, stuffed with some savoury mix.

Many, many, many years ago, when I was devouring a lot of vegetarian books at the library when I was a teenager, I made these things called 'zucchini boats' at the family grill-out. It was with traditionally shaped ones, but they were stuffed with cumin-y chickpeas. It may have been the first time I had eaten chickpeas. Who knows. But I do know that zucchini and chickpeas left quite the impression. So this recipe easily came together. We might even say it was decade(s) in the making.

At the market: the Czech local veg trinity: celery root, carrots, and parsnips.

I wanted to show a few images from Brno's market. There's of course a lot of flowers this time of year, and some Czech produce (Slovak as well.) A lot of things are still coming from down South around the Mediterranean. I tend to easily justify buying from Italy, as it's only 400 miles away from us, so it's basically like eating California veg while in Cali (which is twice that distance at 840 miles long.) Heck, with that math I might start considering Spanish and Greek produce 'local' too.
In all seriousness though, I do try to stick to Czech produce as much as possible, and am impressed with the vendors here, as most of them label each product with country of origin.

Okay, before we get to that recipe, though, how about one gratuitous cute puppy shot? I was so proud of her first market visit. At 4 months she is still a little skittish around people (although not people with dogs, only ones without them. It's almost like she wonders why they think they're allowed to roam free without a dog guiding them.)

Note: More zucchini fun in July over at BestyLife's Seasonal Potluck!

Continue to Recipe...
Recipe: Chickpea-Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 6 as a side
Eat with Riesling

6 round zucchini
1 cup quinoa
1 cup dried chickpeas (or 2 cans)
1 onion, chopped
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili, deseeded and minced 
1 1/2 - 2 tsp cumin
handful of mint
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

optional raisins, turmeric, coriander seed

1) If you are using dried chickpeas, soak overnight. 
2) Make the quinoa per package directions (2 cups water per 1 cup grains - bring to boil, cover, take of heat and sit for 15 minutes.) 

3) Cut the top off and gut the zucchini. It was tricky to be honest with these round ones. I ended up using a paring knife working downwards in a spiral motion. Chop this up for use in the stuffing.

4) In a large pan with high sides, softly cook the onion until golden, add the garlic and chili. Heat for a minute, then add the quinoa, zucchini pieces and cumin. Add optional spices and raisins if you like. Heat for 10 minutes. Add the chopped toasted almonds.

5) Stuff zucchini bowls with stuffing. You will have a lot of extra stuffing to eat as leftovers the next day. Cook for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the zucchini.) Top with bits of mint leaves.

Dobrou Chut'/ Enjoy.
-- Jo


  1. Very neat, I have never seen round zucchini before, nice serving idea.

  2. I must try this with the mini round eggplant I got. GORGEOUS photos. You have a new follower!

    Dawn Hutchins

  3. Dawn, little eggplant bowls sound like an awesome idea! I'll have to keep an eye out :)

  4. Like Dawn, I couldn't find round zucchini but am going to try this in an acorn squash later this week. I plan on blogging about it and will link back.

    Also, great blog and awesome pictures! I'm a new follower :)

  5. Hi Nicolette - Great idea on the squash front! Thanks for checking out the blog and pics, I look forward to perusing more of yours! :)

  6. These zucchine are gorgeous! I never think of stuffing them! Love that you used quinoa!

  7. Thanks Letizia! Glad you stopped by! I'm a big admirer of your blog and photos :)

  8. This looks so delish and I love your photos! We're hosting an online seasonal potluck and July is zucchini month. If you'd like to link your recipe, we'd love to have you!

  9. Hi Betsy, thanks for the heads-up on the 'potluck', I am heading over to peruse and link up :)

  10. Came across your blog on Google and LOVE it, new follower!

  11. Thanks Best o.t. Veg! Great blog name. I am traveling at the moment, and I soon as I find proper computer access I will be tracking down your blog as well!

  12. Zucchini is healthy and scrumptious. Thanks for sharing


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