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Stuffed Vegetables with Rice and Lentils
Stuffed Vegetables with Rice and Lentils

Right now I can’t imagine any other recipe that would be more suited for autumn than these stuffed vegetables. They are warm, slightly spicy, and full of seasonal fresh vegetables. So-so good! I am not a big fan of autumn as it tends to be rainy and dark in Estonia, and spring is still very far away, but I absolutely love all the fresh produce available and I like to make the most of it. 

There are probably a million different recipes for stuffed vegetables. I once went to a yoga retreat in Morocco and as they offered cooking classes too, I got to learn how to make Moroccan-style stuffed vegetables. They used minced meat as the main filling ingredient, but as I very rarely consume animal products, I figured lentils might be a good substitute. I just remembered that all the cooking classes in Morocco were private classes in a tiny local kitchen and fully in French, which I don’t speak. It seems that food is a universal language because I managed to understand everything just fine.

One last tip for the recipe – it is possible that you will have a little bit of filling leftover. If this happens, just scoop it in the bottom of your baking tray and bake it separately. I did not have any leftovers this time, because the pepper was quite big. 

Stuffed Vegetables with Rice and Lentils

Serves: 3-4 people

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1 small eggplant

2 tiny or 1 medium zucchini

1 pepper

2 medium tomatoes

2 larger onions

½ cups of long grain rice

½ cups beluga lentils

½ cups frozen corn

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 red chili

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Start with the onions – peel them and cut off the top. Using a small spoon remove most of the flesh keeping two outer layers whole. Very possible that you will cry during this process, I certainly did! Keep the onion shells and chop up the inside of the onions roughly, add them to a frying pan on medium heat with oil, a tiny bit of salt, and cumin seeds. 

Chop up the chili and add this to the pan.

Continue with eggplant – cut it to half lengthwise, scoop out the insides, chop the flesh and add it to the pan.

Add a cup of boiling water to the pan, add in lentils and rice. Season with pepper and oregano.

Cut the zucchinis in half and scoop out the flesh – add it to the rest of the filling.

Cut the top off the tomatoes and scoop the seeds out. Half the capsicum and you are ready with all the vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

As soon as the rice and lentils have absorbed most of the liquid on the pan, add in corn, have a taste, and season more if needed. The rice and lentils will not be cooked through, and this is okay!

Fill the vegetables, place them in a mold and add around half an inch of water to the bottom. Bake for 40 minutes until the veggies are soft and the filling finishes cooking.

Make sure not to stuff the vegetables too tightly because the rice and lentils will slightly puff up while cooking. 

By Kadri Raig

Kadri is a food blogger and yoga teacher from Estonia. She loves to spend time in the kitchen, but most of her recipes are simple and don’t take more than 20 minutes of active cooking time. She thinks that everybody can find time to cook healthy food at home, it is just a question of planning. "I work in an office full time, teach yoga 7-8 hours a week and write a blog. So if I manage to cook most of my meals, then so do you!" Connect with Kadri and enjoy many more of her delicious healthy recipes on her website here: www.kahvliga.ee.


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