They’re Stuffed and Now so Am I!
Question: What is better than food stuffed with tasty goodness?
Answer: Nothing. Well, maybe a Friends marathon on Netflix, but that’s another topic.
Consuming vegetables doesn’t have to be an obligation, even though we can thank our childhood for that. Spinach, zucchini, asparagus—who would’ve thought that eventually, down the road, we would appreciate the deliciousness they put forth, especially combined with more deliciousness? We can take a nutritious vegetable and stuff it with more vegetables, herbs, garlic and cheese, and get a satisfying and wholesome meal for any day of the week. Let’s look at some recipes that are easy on the waistline and easy to make at home:
Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers
- 6 large red bell peppers
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup uncooked couscous (about 2 cups cooked)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Roast the peppers over open flame of a gas stove, turning them with tongs until skins are blackened, about 2-3 minutes; or roast the peppers on a rack under broiler 2 inches from the heat, turning them every 5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers starting at the stem after carefully cutting off the tops with a paring knife, then rinse out any seeds. Set aside.
Lightly coat a sauté pan with olive oil; place over medium heat. Sauté garlic until it begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add spinach; cook over medium heat until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and salt; place spinach in a bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small pot, cook couscous according to package directions (about 5 minutes). Using a spatula, add the couscous and the feta cheese to the wilted spinach, mixing well. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Stuff the peppers with couscous and spinach stuffing, and place on a baking sheet. Bake on the center rack for about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Asparagus
- 4 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups fresh asparagus, cut
- 1/3 cup shallots or sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large plum tomato, diced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh multigrain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Clean mushroom caps with a damp paper towel, then cut off stems from caps and rinse under cold water. Coarsely chop stems and set aside. Use a spoon or paring knife to scrape out and discard gills from caps. Brush 2 tsp of the oil over caps; place oiled sides down on a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan or baking sheet.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, shallots, garlic and chopped mushroom stems. Cook 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in tomato, salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Combine bread crumbs and cheese; sprinkle evenly over mushrooms. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until hot and crumbs are golden brown.
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 (7 ounce) can roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 thyme, sprigs
- 1/4-1/2 tsp oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 lb chicken, turkey or fish (your preference)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 slices Gouda or Gruyere cheese
Wash zucchini and put in a pot of cold water (do not remove ends). Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes, maybe a little longer depending on the size of zucchini. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a fairly large skillet. Saute garlic first, then add onions, green pepper, thyme and oregano.
When the veggies begin to soften, add chicken, turkey or fish, season with salt and pepper, and brown until cooked through. Drain off any excess grease. Set aside to cool slightly. When the zucchini have cooked through, remove from water and allow to cool enough to handle.
Slice cooled zucchini lengthwise and scoop out center, leaving a little veggie flesh to form a boat. Combine meat mixture with the red peppers, the scooped out zucchini (chopped) and the egg. Fill the zucchini boats with the mixture and top each with a slice of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until heated through and cheese begins to bubble and brown. Serve hot.
Did you love learning about stuffed vegetable recipes? Let us know how you feel in the comments below or share your own recipes!
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