Mediterranean stuffed vegetables

    1 hour 35 min

    An array of colourful stuffed vegetables makes an appetising main dish, ideal for an informal help-yourself meal. Serve with lots of French bread and a mixed leaf salad.

    8 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 100 g (3½ oz) long-grain rice
    • 250 g (8½ oz) lean minced lamb
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 4 peppers
    • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, ripe but firm
    • 1 large courgette, about 225 g (8 oz) each
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
    • 170 g (6 oz) baby spinach leaves
    • 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • salt and pepper
    • To serve
    • 2–3 tbsp shredded fresh basil

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:50min  ›  Ready in:1hr35min 

    1. Cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until tender. Drain.
    2. While the rice is cooking, put the lamb and onion in a non-stick frying pan and fry until the lamb is lightly browned and cooked through and the onion has softened. Turn and break up the meat as it cooks so it browns evenly. Place a sieve over a bowl and tip the meat into it. The fat will drip through and can be discarded.
    3. Cut each pepper in half lengthways through the stalk and remove the core and seed. Cut the tops (stalk end) off the tomatoes and hollow out the insides. Chop the tops and hollowed-out flesh and place in a bowl with any tomato juices. Cut the courgettes in half lengthways and hollow out the centres to leave shells 5 mm ( 1/4 in) thick. Chop the hollowed-out courgette flesh and add it to the chopped tomatoes.
    4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the garlic and chopped vegetables, and cook, stirring, until they soften slightly. Add the spinach and cook over a moderate heat for a minute or so until wilted. Remove from the heat and add the basil, rice and lamb. Add the egg, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
    5. Spoon the stuffing into the pepper, tomato and courgette shells. Arrange the peppers and courgettes in a single layer in 1 or 2 roasting tins. The vegetables should not be too crowded together. Cover with foil or a lid and roast for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue roasting for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender.
    6. Uncover the vegetables and roast for a further 15–20 minutes or until they are tender and the tops are lightly browned. Serve either warm or cool, sprinkled with the shredded fresh basil.

    Another idea

    Make Middle Eastern-style stuffed vegetables. Use brown rice instead of white rice and combine it with the fried lamb and onion. Add 3 thinly sliced spring onions, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 tbsp each chopped fresh dill and mint, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, a good pinch of ground cinnamon, 3 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt, 2 tbsp raisins, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Cut 2 aubergines in half lengthways and steam for 5 minutes or until just tender. Leave until cool enough to handle, then hollow them out, leaving shells about 5 mm (1/4 in) thick. Dice the flesh and add it to the rice and lamb mixture. Blanch 4 large Savoy cabbage leaves for 30–60 seconds or until pliable. Arrange the aubergine shells in a roasting tin and spoon in some of the filling. Roll the rest of the filling in the cabbage leaves and place in the tin. Mix 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 225 g, and their juices with 120 ml (4 fl oz) lamb or vegetable stock and spoon around the vegetables. Cover the tin with foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue roasting for 15–20 minutes or until the tops of the vegetables are tinged a light brown. Serve hot or cool, garnished with chopped fresh mint.

    Plus points

    Plus points * The Mediterranean-style vegetables used in this dish are high in phytochemicals and antioxidant vitamins. Among these is beta-carotene from the peppers, spinach, tomatoes and courgettes. The antioxidant properties of beta-carotene help to protect cells from damage by free radicals produced in the body in response to stress. * Courgettes belong to the same family as melons, pumpkins and cucumber. Their skin is rich in beta-carotene, and they also provide niacin and vitamin B6.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B6, B12, C, E, folate, niacin, zinc * B2, iron, potassium * calcium

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    Reviews in English (1)


    I liked this meal, but we used too much rice in ours. My Italian friend preferred the beef tomato to the peppers (preferring the yellow pepper to all others). While I myself enjoyed it all, but, second time round we added 250g (twice the amount - actually as we made the meal in halves it would have been 200% more) which made the meal better I think. We didn't get our beef mince from the butcher and all Tesco had was 500g, which was lucky. We added another egg and supplemented the Spinach (my friend didn't like Spinach) for Savoy cabbage, again of which we added more in. It was a filling meal, it was good.  -  29 Oct 2011