Buckwheat Stuffed Round Zucchini

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As I have said in a previous post, I was practically raised on traditional Palestinian stuffed vegetables. They are my favourite thing to eat, and they represent the perfect joining of childhood memories from my past with my desire to have a healthy, organic plant based diet of my present. These stuffed vegetables are my favourite things to recreate and also the hardest as the originals are just so delicious.

I developed this recipe after buying a selection of plump round green and bright yellow zucchini at my local organic market for no reason other than they looked amazing and I just had to have them. They sat in my fridge for a while I pondered what to do with them, I was just about to slice and griddle them when I decided to stuff them. The round zucchini challenged me a lot, as they took a long time to hollow out and the first batch I did failed, as the zucchini all burst; it turned out I had not left enough flesh beneath the skin and so I had structurally compromised the integrity of the round shape. Remember when you core yours, to not go too thin around the sides.

I started using buckwheat when I was looking for a substitute for giant cous cous, as I had stopped eating wheat, and now I love using it so much than I feel genuinely guilty for referring to it as a substitute. Buckwheat is deceptively named as it’s not wheat and it is actually not even a grain, though it behaves like one, absorbing water and increasing in size during boiling. Buckwheat is a seed of a flower related to rhubarb. It is not only delicious and filling, it is also extremely healthy for you, containing a lot of amino acids, lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

ingredients

5 round green and yellow zucchini
1 cup buckwheat
½ cup pine nuts and peeled chopped almonds
large handful of parsley, finely chopped
small handful of mint, finely chopped
6 medium vine ripened tomatoes, small dice
1 tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches of pink Himalayan salt, crushed
1 twist of black pepper, freshly milled
1 pot salty water
1 ½ ltr vegetable stock

method

1. add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a frying pan with the onions , pine nuts and almonds, and stir over a medium/high heat until translucent and browned
2. in a bowl thoroughly mix the rice, tomatoes, parsley, mint, mixed spice, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, pepper, onions, pine nuts, almonds, 5 tbsp olive oil and put to one side
3. chop the stalk off each zucchini and using a corer deign to hollow out the flesh leaving several mm of wall behind and taking care not to pierce the skin, then place in a pot of salty water
4. when all the zucchini is hollowed, take out of the water and pat dry
5. fill each zucchini with the rice mixture and then bung the hole with the pulp from inside the zucchini
6. wrap each zucchini in foil and place in a pan, and then cover them with vegetable stock and secure with an upturned side plate or small pot lid
7. bring to a boil on a medium/ high heat, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hr 20 min. Check the pan towards the end of the cooking time to make sure the pan does not dry out completely. Add water if necessary to avoid burning until the cooking time is complete
8. serve hot with organic natural yoghurt

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