Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice

May 17, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice

Today was my yearly physical and I was very excited to talk to Dr Chai about my diet and blood tests.

My doctor was very encouraging about the plant based diet but also brought up how closely linked genetics were to some diseases and how important it is to do everything in moderation.

He did tell me his wife went on all plant diet ten years ago and her cholesterol went from 250 down to 180. She didn't stick with it but now eats about 50% plant based.

He took my blood and I will have the results in a couple of days.  He will do another blood test in a month to see if this diet has made any difference. I hope so, because I am going to need something to keep me going.

To be honest, the last two days have been the most challenging mainly because I have had no time to cook and finding restaurant food that is plant based continues to be difficult even in LA.

Fortunately, I made a big pot of pink lentil soup over the week-end so I had something to eat when I got home at night but I woke up so hungry in the morning and had strong cravings.

I think my cravings are simply emotional. We certainly do crave certain foods because of the memories and emotions relating to that food in our lives.

For example – every summer we go to Cape Cod and have big seafood dinners and I almost cried yesterday thinking about not enjoying that with everyone this summer.

Sitting there with my plant based dinner while everyone eats lobster and clams…ugggg. It actually made me sad. Does the plant based diet lead to depression? Maybe I need more Omega-3s. I definitely need more willpower.

Tonight I made this stuffed zucchini with brown rice and pine nuts. It was satiating so that helped my cravings. Hope you enjoy this stuffed zucchini as much as I did. Wish me luck on my plant-based journey.

Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • ¾ cup brown rice, long grain
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 lbs zucchini, green or yellow (2-3 large)
  • l medium onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms thinly sliced (any kinds)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or oregano
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 14 ounces tomatoes (1 tomato medium, dice) (2 tomatoes sliced ¼")
  • 2½ cups swiss chard or spinach shredded
  • ½ cup fresh basil shredded
  1. In medium sized saucepan, combine rice, water, bay leaf and fennel seeds and simmer, covered for about 35 minutes. Remove rice from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and fluff rice with fork. cover and set aside
  1. Wash and trim both ends of zucchini, then cut in hallf lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out zucchini pulp leaving about ½" thick walls for "zucchini boats" - Coarsely chop zucchini pulp an set aside
  2. PRE-HEAT OVEN AT 350 Degrees
  3. Spray a shallow baking pan, just large enough to contain zucchini with vegetable spray and set aside
  4. In small non-stick saute pan, lightly brown pine nuts over medium heat - set aside
  5. In a medium sized, non stick saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add sliced mushrooms, thyme and paprika. Saute mushrooms until soft, then add zucchini pulp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cooked brown rice, diced tomato and swiss chard. Stir and saute until chard wilts and mixture binds together. Add shredded basil and toasted pine nuts.
  6. Generously mound filing in zucchini boats. Let it overflow
  7. Transfer filled zucchini to prepared baking pan. Top each zucchini boat with sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle black pepper over tomato slices. Add ⅓ " water to bottom of pan. Cover pan with foil and bake for about 35 minutes or until tender.


7 thoughts on “Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice

  1. This is a great blog, Nancy….I'm really enjoying reading it. I've wanted to do a plant-based diet for like 20 years now, and have failed everytime for the reasons you cited above. Plus, my most extreme attempt at vegetarianism left me feeling really weak after about a month…..this Rastafarian incense & jewelry merchant used to tell me that the weakness was due to all the poison leaving the body from years of meat eating. I remember asking him how much longer the poison would take to leave….cause I couldn't take much more.

    In the last few years, I have almost completely given up all red meat consumption, strictly because I know I couldn't bring myself to kill a cow or pig or lamb for food, unless perhaps if I were truly starving to death. In fact, the only time I ever have red meat at all anymore is when someone offers it up free of charge, since I'm too poor to actually turn down free food.

  2. You can do it, Nancy. I made the tofu burgers tonight for dinner, with a nice salad, corn on the cob, avocado and quinoa – a very summery outdoorsy kind of meal. Your lobster eating family would be jealous – and the burgers have seaweed in them so you are still eating something from the ocean!

  3. Nancy – I am loving your blog… your posts are honest and I am admiring your determination. I think we are all trying to find our way to better health or best health, and humanity. I shared your blog today with my friend jennifer after she I dined at real food daily today. I share your feelings about sitting on the sidelines while my family eats lobster.
    Keep going to kid!! Where ever you end up vegan, veg, aqua, is all improving your mind and your spirit. I'm proud of you!!

  4. Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

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