Stuffed Courgettes

A lovely, light but satisfying lunch dish made with courgettes/zucchini. You can eat a good plateful without feeling guilty! Courgettes have a low GI and are great for people who have diabetes as they won’t have much of an effect on blood glucose levels. Courgettes are also a good source of potassium, vitamin C and folic acid. The tomatoes add a long list of nutrients, especially when cooked – add in fresh dill, mint and parsley and this is a longevity winner – and best of all it is great for the waistline – no after-lunch slump with this one!

4 x large courgettes – hollowed out with a teaspoon or apple corer.
4 – 6 x tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 x onion – finely chopped
1 x tbsp fresh or dried parsley
2 x tbsp fresh or dried dill
2 x tbsp fresh or dried mint
3/4 x cup of rice (long grain, aborio, carolina etc.)
1 x vegetable stock cube
400g x tin of plum tomatoes – (crush them with your hands) more tomato if you want more sauce
1 x cup of water
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste

Wash the courgettes thoroughly and trim off the stems (save them as you will using them in the cooking process). Cut then in half vertically. If you have an apple corer thats great! scoop out the inside (leave enough flesh around the egde so the courgettes don’t collapse) if not use a teaspoon to carefully scoop out the insides, leaving a nice hollowed out shell. (you can use some of the the flesh chopped very finely in the stuffing mixture).
Melt the vegetable stock cube in the 1/2 cup of warm/hot water. In a large bowl add in the rice, parsley, dill, mint and crushed tomatoes and finely chopped courgette flesh.
Now add in the chopped onion and about 3 x tbsps of oilve oil – stir everything throughly. Season with salt & pepper and pour in the vegetable stock. Combine everything and you are ready to stuff!
You will need a deep saucepan – deep enough that you can stand your courgettes upright and stuff them in the pan. The courgettes that are like a tube, slice off a little bit of the stem you cut off earlier and use it as a bottom, place the stem ‘bottom’ in the pan and stand the hollow courgette on top. The rounded end of the courgette will just need a tiny slice taken off the bottom so it will stand upright.
Pour the remaining oil in the pan first, then assemble the empty courgette tubes in the pan (try and get them packed quite tightly). Now stuff the courgette with the filling mixture – don’t overstuff them as the rice will expand as it cooks).
Sprinkle over a little more salt & pepper and add extra tomato if you want more sauce and then carefully pour in the cup of water down the side (don’t pour over the courgettes!).
You can either cook in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes or cook on a medium heat on the hob, with the lid on for about 40 mins.
Once the rice and courgettes are tender – remove the lid and let cool for about 5-7 minutes and serve – delicious!

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