Persian Rice-Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and Dill

ADAPTED FROM COOKING LIGHT

  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/8 cup Jasmine rice
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • a pinch of ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. chopped, unsalted, dry-roasted pistachios
  • 2 tbsp. each chopped fresh dill and parsley
  • 1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 can (7 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained.

 

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out pulp (or flesh) and chop.

Place the zucchini halves cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until tender.

Add half the olive oil to a sauce pan and put it on medium heat.  Add rice, cardamon and cinnamon, cook for about 5 minutes or until the rice is opaque, stirring frequently.  Add half the salt, and the cumin, red pepper and water.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in apricots.  Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Discard cardamon and cinnamon. Spoon rice mixture in a bowl and let cool, slightly.

Combine the remaining olive oil, salt and black pepper in a small bowl, add the orange rind and juices, stir with a whisk.  Add dressing, the reserved zucchini pulp, pistachios and remaining ingredients to the rice mixture.  Toss well to combine.

Preheat boiler to high, spoon 1/4 cup of the rice mixture into the zucchini shell, broil 6 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serves 2-4.

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