Vegetables Stuffed with Mint and Tabbouleh

Ingredients

  • 24 small vegetables – about 50 g (2 oz) – such as tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, onions, aubergines
  • 250 g (8 oz) tabbouleh
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • good pinch ground cumin
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Prepare the vegetables as appropriate. The tomatoes will not need blanching or parboiling, but cut a slice off the top, scoop out the seeds and juice. Rub these through a sieve, and reserve the juice. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and stand them upside down to drain.

The courgettes and aubergines should be parboiled, the courgettes for 3 to 4 minutes, the aubergines for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Cut them in half horizontally, and scoop out some of the centre, leaving about 1 cm (½ inch) flesh attached to the skin. Finely chop the flesh from the centre, and reserve.

Cut the top off the peppers, remove the seeds and pithy ribs from inside. Grill and peel them, or if you don’t mind them with the skin on, parboil for 4 to 5 minutes and rinse under cold water. Peel the onions, parboil for 10 minutes, and remove the centre, leaving the outer two layers of skin for stuffing.

To make the stuffing, finely chop the centre pieces of onion, and mix with the tabbouleh, together with the sieved tomato juices, chopped courgette and aubergine. If you are only using tomatoes and peppers for stuffing, then use a larger amount of tabbouleh. Peel and crush the garlic and mix into the rest of the stuffing ingredients, together with the mint and spices, and season to taste.

Spoon the mixture into the vegetables, and place them in a lightly oiled roasting tin. Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil on top of each, and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4 for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Cooking time will depend, to a large extent, on how tender and fresh the vegetables were to begin with.

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