Lentil Stuffed Zucchini
I love stuffed vegetables. A humble green pepper or zucchini seems much more elegant when it’s hallowed out and filled with yumminess. And while it makes a lovely presentation, stuffed vegetables are generally very easy to make. These lentil-stuffed zucchini are a nice, light summer dinner, especially when paired with a green salad. I had hoped to find bigger zucchini, but it’s still early in the season, and these held a fair amount of filling, despite their petite size.
I used Taste #5 Umami paste for the lentils, but I believe Worcestershire sauce would add the right flavor if you can’t find it. Worcestershire sauce is my secret lentil cooking ingredient, but can you believe it? We don’t have any. I thought refrigerators just came pre-stocked with Worcestershire sauce, but apparently, I have to go buy it.
I only used two small zucchini for this dinner, and ended up with enough leftover lentil filling to mix with pasta and have for lunch the next day. The filling could easily fill four small zucchini, or two large.
Lentil Stuffed Zucchini
- 4 small or 2 large zucchini (or use 2 small and use the leftover lentils for pasta tomorrow)
- 1/2 cup French Puy lentils
- 1 cup water or stock
- a squeeze of Umami paste or about 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- about 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- a few tablespoons of bread crumbs
- about 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Slice the zucchini in half and use a small spoon to scrape out the insides. Leave about 1/4 inch rim all around so the zucchini don’t collapse.
Add the lentils, water or stock, and Umami paste or Worcestershire to a small saucepan, along with a healthy pinch of salt. Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and let the lentils simmer for about 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through. The lentils should be soft, but still firm. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes soften and burst a little bit here and there.
While the lentil are cooking, you want to cook the zucchini just a bit. You can do this under the broiler or on the grill. The cut side should face the heating element, whether you’re using a broiler or the grill. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes, or however long it takes for them to soften. You just want to take the raw edge off a bit.
Once the lentils are done, place the zucchini on a baking sheet, cut side up. Fill each zucchini half with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of filling, depending on how big they are. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and cheese, and broil for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the topping starts to brown. Serve with a light green salad, and a crusty baguette, and you have a simple dinner that looks way more complicated than it is.