Stuffed Veggies in Spicy Tomato Sauce
There’s something just comforting about eating a juicy vegetable that’s been stuffed with meat and rice and simmered in a rich tomato sauce.
This is one of those meals that may take some time to prepare but is so worth the extra effort. As a kid i wasn’t a huge fan of zucchini so I gave my mom a hard time every time she prepared this dish. Man, do i feel stupid about all of those times i fought my mom to eat this meal. It’s such a comforting, delicious and healthy way to get your protein, veggies and carbs all at once.
I’m going to be honest here, preparing this meal takes a bit of patience and practice because the key here is to be an expert “corer”. Removing the core of the veggies you plan on stuffing is the first step to happiness here. Additionally, you’ll want to be careful not to puncture the veggies too much. When you break through the shell and skin you risk the filling seeping through and breaking the veggie shell when it’s cooking. The best way to get this right is just practice. And honestly, it’s not the end of the world if you make a few punctures. Heck, i just punctured a few. Whatevs. Here is the tool i use to core the veggies. You can find it on Amazon and it’s a great price. Get it and practice. What’s the old adage? Practice makes perfect ;)
When you’re serving this dish, serve with a platter of fresh veggies like peppers, onions, mint, radishes, etc. We always have a gorgeous spread out to munch on with the meal along with a bowl of delicious plain yogurt that you add dollops of over your veggies. The mixture of the tomato sauce and yogurt is just so delicious. Mmm, i think i’ll go have a bowl… for breakfast….
Give this recipe a try! Leave your feedback and some love. If you make this and post on social media, use the hashtag #hungrilyhomemaderecipe
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yield: 8-13 servings
1. 10 small middle eastern zucchinis or Mexican zucchini
2. 4 roma tomatoes
3. 4 large onions
4. 4 jalapeños
5. 1 lbs ground beef
6. 1 1/2 cups calirose rice
7. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
8. 1 tbsp paprika
9. 2 tsp all spice
10. 3/4 tsp chili powder
11. 2 tsp sweet pepper
12. 2 tbsp salt
13. 1/2 cup tomato paste
14. 1 tsp dried oregano flakes
15. 4 cups water
16. 1 tbsp olive oil
1. Start by washing your veggies, cutting the steps and ends off (except for the jalapenos and tomatoes, only cut off the tops.)
2. Using your corer, insert into the veggie and twist to remove a small piece of the core, continue doing so while spinning your veggie in your hand to get the core out from all sides. Your goal is to try to clean out the inside as well as you can, to create a thin outer shell, without puncturing. Save the core you’ve removed from all of your veggies and set aside. We will be using this for the base of the sauce that they will be cooked in, along with some zucchini for the rice and meat filling mixture.
3. Prepare your filling by mixing your spices, rice, meat, 1 cup of the zucchini core that you’ve set aside, and 1 1/2 tbsp of salt. Mix well with your hands. I use food grade gloves to work the spices into the meat well.
4. Stuff your meat and rice filling into the veggies you’ve cored and prepared. You want to ensure you do not overfill them as the meat and rice will both expand during cook time, so leaving about an inch from the top of unfilled veggie is advised.
5. Add your olive oil to a large pot that can fit all of your veggies and sauté the core of the veggies you removed in the olive oil until the onion, tomato, zucchini and jalapeños begin to release their liquid and soften.
6. While the veggie cores are sautéing, whisk together your tomato paste oregano, 1/2 tbsp of salt and water in a bowl.
7. Remove the pot of sautéed cores from the heat and lay your stuffed veggies in it with the onions on the bottom, zucchini over them, then the tomatoes and the jalapeños on the top. Pour your liquid tomato sauce over the pot, cover and return to low heat and let simmer for 1 hour. You will know when the veggies are done cooking when they are tender the touch (i test with a fork).
8. Remove from the heat when completed cooking and serve with a platter of fresh veggies and a bowl of yogurt!