Fancy an 8 Ball for Meatless Monday?

by Gavan on August 2, 2010

Every summer my missus and I grow some different veggies in our garden. For the life of me I can’t remember what we did last year but I’m sure it was amazing. This year we she decided we should grow some zucchinis so we she did. Some of you may remember this monster child as being one of the zucchinis we bore. We also grow what’s commonly known as an 8 ball zucchini, which are usually the size of a baseball or billiards ball, hence the name, though in our garden they’ve grown up to twice that size! You really only have a couple of options when it comes to eating these bad boys. Stuffing them is my preferred way of eating ’em.

The missus made a great Chickpea Bajane recipe she found in our Cooking Light magazine for dinner recently and the leftovers made a great stuffing for lunch the next day.  Two meals for the price of one is always a good thing!

Serves 2 with leftover chickpea bajane

2 x 8 ball zucchini
drizzle olive oil
Chickpea Mixture:
2 teaspoons olive oil – divided
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 1 large)
4 garlic cloves – chopped
2 1/2 cups fennel bulb – sliced (about 1 large)
1 3/4 cup sliced carrot – 1/4″ thick
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup white wine (whatever you’re drinking will work)
1 cup organic veg broth
4 tsp chopped fresh thyme – divided
1 x 14 1/2 oz can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained *
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Swiss chard – chopped *

2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove – minced
1 cup organic veg broth
1 cup water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme – chopped
1/4 tsp salt

TIP: As more information surfaces about BPA’s in canned food, I highly recommend either eliminating canned foods altogether OR choosing canned products from EDEN FOODS, which are Packed in bisphenol-A free cans.

NOTE: The original recipe called for packaged baby spinach but you all know my feelings on bagged greens so I opted to use fresh Swiss chard straight from my neighbor’s garden (thanks C & J!). You could also use fresh organic spinach or baby spinach from your farmers’ market.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut off the top from each squash. Using a teaspoon scoop out the inside leaving 1/4″ wall inside. Season inside of each squash with S&P and drizzle of olive oil. Pop in oven on foiled oven tray for 10 minutes. Once cooked there will be some excess water inside the squash, tip them over and spill it out.

Meanwhile, make the quinoa. Heat 2 tsp oil in large saucepan over med-high heat. Add 1 garlic clove to pan, saute for 1 minute. Add 1 cup broth and next 4 quinoa ingredients (through the salt), cover. Reduce heat and simmer 15 mins or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

While quinoa is cooking prepare the chickpea mixture. Heat 1 tsp oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over med-high heat. Add leek and 4 garlic cloves and saute for 5 mins or until tender. Add remaining 1 tsp oil, carrots, fennel bulb & seeds, saute for 10 mins or until veg are golden. Add wine, cook for 3 mins or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in broth, thyme and chickpeas. cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, stir in lemon, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper and chard.

Thoroughly mix the quinoa and chickpea mixture together. Taste and season with S&P if needed.

Spoon the quinoa filling into the zucchini and pop back in the oven for 10-15 minutes to heat through.

Serve with a beautiful seasonal salad and your vegetarian will be very happy…just like mine!

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers’ market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.

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