Falafel stuffed aubergines, roasted ricotta and pesto stuffed tomatoes, minced meat stuffed whole cabbage, tuna and basil stuffed tomatoes, chicken enchiladas stuffed zucchini boats, Lebanese-style stuffed eggplants, roasted onions with curried rice – the ideas are endless, vegetarian doesn’t have to be just plain old vegetables, here is your chance to turn it up several notches.

Stuffed vegetables-stuffed peppers

Ardei umpluţi, stuffed peppers

Entertaining? Having a few guests over and few of them are vegetarian – that is enough to get most of us into a flutter and scramble for the pile of menu cards to order something or go through endless recipes wondering what to hustle up. You could try stuffing and roasting tomatoes, onions or peppers with a vegetarian ragout or some chopped sautéed mushroom and aubergines along with some flavourful goat cheese, herbs and spices.

Stuffed bhendi or lady finger- stuffed vegetables

By Deboli Dutta (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Indian cuisine can be so diverse you can easily find different variations of recipes for stuffed vegetables from coast to coast and north to south.  You can find recipes for stuffed bhindi or stuffed tendli or even stuffed potatoes but the most common recipe found is for stuffed green peppers. Green peppers or capsicum are stuffed with paneer, prawn balchao, onions and potatoes seasoned with garlic, spices, lemon juice or even minced meat and either browned on a tawa or fried on a pan or even baked in an oven until the peppers are soft.

Stuffed peppers are also a traditional part of Spanish cuisine, especially from the region of the Basque country. The fillings vary from manchego cheese  to beef or cod in béchamel sauce.

Stuffed peppers-stuffed vegetables

Peppers Red Filled Minced Meat Paprika

You can also find more than just one stuffed pepper dish in Mexican cuisine- you have the stuffed poblano peppers with cheese or minced meat, covered in egg batter and fried which is often served with a sauce. The most popular dish is jalapeno poppers, which are jalapeno peppers which have been hollowed out and stuffed with a mixture of cheese, spices and potatoes or ground meat and then deep-fried.

In Guatemala, the pimento pepper is stuffed with shredded pork and vegetables, covered or dipped in egg batter and fried, served with a tomato sauce or in a hollowed bread bun.

Recipes for stuffed peppers can be found in most east European cuisines as well as in American cuisine.

In American cuisine, the classic stuffed pepper consists of a stuffing of ground beef, rice, tomatoes, cheese and seasoned with paprika and parsley. In countries like Romania and Hungary, the stuffed peppers are generally stuffed with minced beef or minced pork and rice but the difference being that they are served with a sour cream sauce.

Ratatouille- French cuisine-Stuffed vegetables

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish that originated in Nice.

In French cuisine, stuffed vegetables are the typical fare from Provence the region that hugs the Mediterranean coastline in the south of France. Vegetables, olives and olive oil are all used in abundance in Provence.  The Provence sunshine helps provide a rich variety of vegetables so making stuffed vegetables or legumes farcis is traditional and typical. Provencal solution of combining imagination with abundant local ingredients with abundant local ingredients to produce an interesting, low-cost, healthy and delicious meal.

So let your imagination run wild and start cooking up a storm with some vegetarian and or meat combo stuffed variations.

To be continued….stay tuned for recipes with stuffed vegetables