Persian Stuffed Globe Zucchinis

Persian Stuffed Globe Zucchinis
Warda Bouguettaya, Just Baking and 64 Sq Ft Kitchen - I usually cook pilaf rice, but was intrigued this time by Chelo, the Iranian steamed rice. The traditional way of cooking Chelo is soaking the rice in salted water for a minimum of 2 hours, draining then cooking it in fresh water; and then “steaming” it for 40 min with some butter in a pan covered with a lid and a dishtowel. The corners of the dishtowel are then folded over the lid. The rice becomes soft and fluffy, never soggy and sticky. This is a quicker method of cooking Chelo. Don’t skimp on the soaking time, though. A minimum of 30 min is required to soften the grains and improves the flavour of the finished dish. You can use either basmati rice or long grain rice. I used ground lamb to stay in the Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern theme, but you can use ground beef, ground turkey or even no meat at all if you are a vegetarian.
Serves: 4
  • 4 globe zucchinis
  • 1 spanish onion, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ lb ground lamb (or beef)
  • ½ cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 turnip, diced
  • 1 tbsp golden raisin
  • 5 dried apricots, diced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt, pepper
For the Persian rice:
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 oz basmati rice
  • 1 ½ tbsp (dairy-free margarine)
  1. Place the water and salt in a pan and pour in the rice. Set aside to soak for at least 30 min and up to 2 hours. Bring the water and rice to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 min, until the water is absorbed. Add the [margarine] to the rice. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and steam over a very low heat for about 30 min.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the lamb and sauté quickly just to give it a nice color. Add the onion, turnip and season with salt and black pepper. Pour in the stock, cover and let it simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 15 min. Uncover the pan, add the dried fruits and let the liquid reduces. Sprinkle some cilantro on top of the meat mixture and combine with the rice prepared earlier. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut the top off the zucchinis. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out of the zucchinis. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside on a greased baking pan. Spoon the rice and meat mixture to the zucchinis; place the top on each of them. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the zucchinis are tender, when poked with a toothpick, about 30 min. Let it cool slightly and serve.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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