Tag Archives: dinner

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

12 Jun

One of my favorite meals that my mom made when I was younger was stuffed zucchini. Of course, living with my Italian father, her version included ground beef, rice, tomato sauce and other assorted veggies, topped with parmesan cheese. Don’t get me wrong – I loved that version; but I have made changes in my diet that warrant some alterations to the original recipe!

My new version of the stuffed zucchini incorporates brown rice, onion, garlic, green bell pepper, olives and tomato sauce. The meal is healthy, filling, and extremely satisfying! I used to miss the taste of parmesan cheese with all of my pasta and Italian dishes, but my taste for it has definitely dwindled now that I have been vegan for about two months. I usually toss on some red pepper flakes for a kick (I even tried some sriracha with it and it was tasty) or sprinkle on some nutritional yeast for a bit of a cheesy flavor.


Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

Makes 6 halves


3 large zucchinis

1 jar (15oz) of your favorite vegan pasta sauce

1.5 cups of uncooked brown rice

1/2 can of black olives, sliced (or use a small can of already sliced olives)

4 garlic cloves

1/2 white onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1-2 TB olive oil

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste


1. Start your rice – I use a rice cooker, so I can set it and continue with the recipe. For 1.5 cups of uncooked rice, I use about 2.5 cups of water. I find that using a full 3 cups makes the rice soggy. If you use the stove top method, prepare 1.5 cups of uncooked rice according to the directions on the package.

2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Chop up your garlic, onion, and bell pepper and add them to the pan. Cook until onions start to become translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

3. While ingredients are in the pan, slice your zucchinis lengthwise – try to slice them so that both halves will be able to lay flat, skin side down. Using a spoon, carve out the seeds and soft insides of each half, much like you would do with a larger squash or pumpkin. Set the scrapings aside. Make sure that you don’t scrape too much out – you should have about 1/4-1/2 inch left (see picture below).

Carved zucchinis

4. Chop up about half of the zucchini insides and add them, along with the olives, into the saute pan. Pour in 1/2 of the pasta sauce and saute the mixture until heated through, about 5 minutes.

5. Once your rice is done, add it to your saute pan – I wound up using only a cup of the cooked rice so that it didn’t take over the veggies too much. You may need to add another quarter of the jar of pasta sauce since the rice will soak some of it up. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste and cook until thoroughly mixed and heated through.

Rice and veggie mixture

6. While the veggies are cooking, set your zucchini halves in a baking pan and fill the pan with hot water until it covers 3/4 of each zucchini. This water will help to cook the zucchini through while in the oven.

Zucchini in baking pan with water

7. When thoroughly heated, scoop a heaping portion of the veggie mixture into the middle of each zucchini half. Once each zucchini is filled, spoon the remainder of the pasta sauce over the top of each .

Stuffed zucchini with sauce on top

8. Cover your pan (I had to use two because my zucchinis were large) with tin foil and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the zucchini is fork tender.

9. Garnish with more red pepper flakes, sriracha, fresh basil or anything else that your heart desires! Enjoy!

Finished product!

You may have some leftovers when it comes to the stuffing – I usually stick it in a tupperware and use it for the next day’s lunch, along with a small salad. Or, if I’m really impatient, I will eat it while the zucchinis are baking! Can’t go wrong either way!  =)

What is your favorite childhood meal that you have veganized? Share your story in the comments below!

Sauteed Red Chard and Chickpeas Over Brown Rice

29 May

One of the best things about becoming a vegan has been this wonderful new passion for food and cooking. I have experimented with styles of cooking and ingredients that I would never have even thought of last year! This past weekend, I bought a big bunch of red chard at the Farmer’s Market on a whim – I have never cooked with or even tasted chard, but I couldn’t resist it’s green leafiness!

Red Chard

After consulting with the wonderful FB community that is Power to the Veg! I decided that sauteing the chard was the way to go. I tossed some onion and garlic in the pan with just a tiny bit of oil; the chick peas went in next  (I used canned), followed by the chard. It smelled AMAZING while it was cooking – I couldn’t wait to start eating! Even though it could have been eaten on its own, I put all of the items over brown rice and VOILA! My first chard creation!

Red chard sauteed with chick peas, onions, and garlic


1 bunch of red chard, washed and cut into ribbons (no stems)

1 can of chickpeas, drained and washed

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

3/4 of a white onion, chopped

1 cup of uncooked brown rice


1. Start your rice – I used a rice cooker but you can always cook yours on the stove. Usually I use just less than a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. When I use that exact ratio in the rice cooker, it comes out a bit mushy.

2. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in your pan over medium heat – if you would like to cut out the oil, you can saute using water.

3. Add garlic and onions to the pan. Once the onions start to become translucent, add the chickpeas. Since these are already cooked, they just need to be warmed through, about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the red chard to the pan, stirring so that it mixes with the onions and chickpeas. Cook until tender, about 5-6, stirring occasionally.

5. If you’ve timed it correctly (rice takes about 20-25 minutes), you can spoon the veggie mixture over the brown rice and enjoy!

The finished project over brown rice!

It’s as simple as that! I think red pepper flakes would be a great addition if you like your food with a kick. Some of the FB veggies suggested juicing the chard as well, so that will be an upcoming adventure! Chard, with all of its colors, will definitely be making a repeat appearance in my dinner line-up!

What are some of your favorite chard recipes? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

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