banner
alive logo
foodfamilylifestylebeautysustainabilityhealthimmunity

Get Stuffed

Share

We all know that we should be eating more vegetables. After all, they’re flush with the micronutrients and antioxidants we need for healthy aging. But let’s be frank, they’re often not the most exciting thing on your dinner plate. Steamed broccoli and dressing-drenched salads can get stale. So, if there was ever a food group ripe for reinvention, it’s veggies.

A tasty way to breathe new life into the vegetables on your menu is to stuff more in—literally. And while many of us are focusing our minds on the perfect stuffing for our Thanksgiving turkey, now’s also a good time to talk stuffed veggies.

Some stuffed vegetables can seem a bit gimmicky, but when done right, they’re a perfect way to make veggies the well-deserving star of <any> meal. Most likely candidates such as eggplant, peppers, and giant mushrooms can serve as ultra-nutritious bases for a range of inspiring fillings. 

The key is to make sure the vegetable elevates the flavour profile of the finished dish and doesn’t just play the role of hollowed-out shell, serving as little more than a receptacle for stuffing. These recipes overhaul the whole concept of vegetables bursting at the seams and hold their own as crowd-pleasing main courses—perhaps even for your Thanksgiving feast! 

01

Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash
Crab Cap Salad

These crab-stuffed portobello mushrooms can do double duty as a fancy starter for a casual dinner party or a light main course on any given night. Meaty and umami-rich portobellos serve as a holder for a light-tasting seafood salad. 

Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

In this enchilada riff, we stuff everything into a roasted poblano pepper shell, rather than tortillas, to pack an extra veggie serving into your meal and trim the starchy calories. If you can’t find poblanos, which are mild, dark green Mexican peppers, you can substitute green bell peppers.

Freekeh Medley Stuffed Eggplant

This stuffed eggplant is built upon layers of Middle Eastern flavours: smoky freekeh, tender chickpeas, and a herbal tahini sauce. The quick-pickled raisins add a sweet vinegary pop. 

Sausage-Rice Stuffed Chard with Walnut Sauce

Reminiscent of the stuffed cabbage of yore, the flavour profile of these stuffed chard smacks of cozy fall. It looks all fancy, but everything comes together surprisingly quickly. If desired, you can use turkey or pork sausage and brown rice. 

Bean Stuffed Zucchini with Cheesy Sauce

This plant-only recipe may look like it required a lot of fuss, but it comes together easily. Tender zucchini is loaded with a hearty and satisfying bean mixture and then finished off with a drizzle of cheesy tasting sauce. 

Chemical cuisine

In recent times, there has been a raft of research demonstrating that the more vegetables we eat, the greater the chances for living a longer, healthier life. For instance, a recent study published in the journal Circulation found that three daily servings of vegetables (and two servings of fruit) could reduce mortality risk and the chances for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory illness.

One reason eating more veggies can lower the risk for several chronic diseases and help promote longevity is that they’re a leading source of antioxidants. These natural plant chemicals are designed to quash free radicals, substances that can damage cells and genetic material.

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of different substances that can act as antioxidants; each one has unique chemical behaviours and biological properties. Many of them can be found in vegetables of different colours such as peppers, carrots, and leafy greens. But even not-so-bright options such as mushrooms and onions harbour an antioxidant punch. 

Ad
Advertisement
Advertisement

READ THIS NEXT

SEE MORE »
Roasted Vegetable Antipasti with Balsamic and Olive Oil
Earthy Goodness

Earthy Goodness

Herbs and mushrooms and roots, yum yum! Not only are these all categories of helpful nutrients that can support your immune health through the annual cold and flu season, but they also fit snugly into the category of adaptogen.  And what is an adaptogen? Often thought of in terms of herbs only, adaptogens are known for their help in supporting our adrenals, glands that produce hormones to help regulate our metabolism, immune system, and blood pressure as well as our response to stress. If the coming season has you stressed about running out of energy, adaptogens may be the ingredients you need to help rebuild and strengthen your empty tank while also cooling your jets and keeping you calm.  Gather while you can Some of these adaptogenic stars can be found in abundance right now. Autumn is mushroom season, and root vegetables are also in season—and plentiful. We’ve coupled the harvested beauties of roots and fungi with healthy adaptogenic herbs that are available all year round.  Incorporating these ingredients into your menu will benefit you in a myriad of delicious ways. From building energy and supporting your immune system to tantalizing your taste buds, each recipe provides a medley of irresistible flavours. Herbs for better health Healthy herbs are an all-year bonus that offer many health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to controlling blood sugar, along with potential protection against cancer. Adding a medley of herbs to your recipes not only adds amazing flavour bonuses, but is also a sure-fire recipe for good health. Here are some of our favourite healthy—and delicious!—herbs:  basil  cilantro dill garlic mint onion  oregano parsley rosemary  turmeric ’Mazing mushrooms Mushrooms, sometimes mysterious and often misunderstood, may offer amazing health benefits to those of us who relish their flavour possibilities—the quiet flavour that makes other ingredients in a recipe pop.  From lowering blood pressure to supporting our immune system and being an incredible source of potassium, who knew such an earthy food could be the anchor for so much goodness? And the height of irony: often grown in the dark, mushrooms are actually touted to be the only “vegetable” (they’re actually their own food group—fungi/mycology) that naturally contains vitamin D.  Here, we’ve listed only a few of the most common mushrooms used in cooking. But did you realize that there are more than 50,000 varieties of mushrooms?! They’re not all edible, but that’s a lot of fungi serving important roles in the ecoculture of our planet and our diets!  boletus  chanterelle  cremini enoki maitake morel  oyster porcini portobello reishi  shiitake white button Root for roots! When it comes to root veggies, the healthy benefits are worth rooting for! These underground beauties offer an amazing wealth of nutrients, including essential fibre and calcium. Root veggies play a huge role in nutritional sustainability. We’ve featured only a few in our recipes here, but the root vegetable category is almost as limitless as the mushroom category. The following are but a few:  beets carrots  celery root (celeriac) daikon fennel  horseradish Jerusalem artichokes  kohlrabi parsnips radishes rutabagas sweet potatoes turnips yams