Stuffed Zucchini with Saffron & Pistachios (Kuzu Icli Kabak Dolmasi)

The perfect balance of a savory ground beef filling with aromatic spices, pistachios and almonds.

In Turkish cooking, I’ve been learning about the myriad of different variations on stuffed vegetables. There are many variations. This is already the third variation of stuffed zucchini and it tastes completely different than the last recipe I learned.

The ground beef is seasoned with cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper. Then pistachios and almonds are added to create a unique and delicious texture to the overall dish.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 25 zucchini
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 c white rice
  • 3 TBSP pistachios
  • 2 TBSP almonds
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 c sunflower oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Clean the zucchini and cut into thirds. Core the inner part of the zucchini and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan with sunflower oil. Once hot, fry the zucchini in batches until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place them on a cooling rack.

Rinse and drain the rice. Set it aside for later.

In a small frying pan, sauté the ground beef in 2 TBSP of olive oil.  Add the rice and stir.

Then add the cinnamon, saffron, salt, pepper, pistachios and almonds and stir for 2-3 minutes more until well incorporated.

Remove from the heat.

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Using a tablespoon, fill the zucchini until it’s two-thirds of the way full. Press the top together and place in a large stock pot.

Cover the zucchini with a large ceramic dish (to weigh them down in the pot) and add about 2-3 cups of hot water.

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Cover and cook on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Kabak Oturtma (Stuffed Zucchini)

Fresh and succulent zucchini stuffed with flavorful ground beef and spices.

If you love stuffed peppers, then you’ll love Kabak Oturtma, or Stuffed Zucchini. The inside of the zucchini is carefully removed, then it is lightly fried and stuffed with a flavorful ground beef that has been thoroughly seasoned with spices, onions, garlic, peppers and tomato paste.

Each zucchini is stuffed and topped with a small piece of tomato like a little red hat on top. It looks beautiful and tastes even better.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 12 oz ground beef
  • 20 medium zucchini
  • 3 small onions
  • 1 red pepper (sweet/ bell)
  • 1 green pepper (sweet/bell)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 0.5 lb fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 c tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP  red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups sunflower oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven for 375F.

Clean and rinse all of the vegetables.

Cut each zucchini into thirds. Then using a spoon or a coring utensil, remove the inside flesh from the zucchini.

In a small frying pan, fry the zucchini in batches until lightly browned. Set aside.

Finely dice the onions, red pepper and green pepper. Mince the garlic and cut the tomatoes into eighths.

In a frying pan,sauté the ground beef until browned. Add the olive oil and then stir in the onions, red pepper, green pepper and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the 1/4c of tomato paste, 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Using a spoon, fill each zucchini with the ground beef mixture about three quarters from the top. Add a piece of tomato on top and stack them upright in a baking pan.

Then fill a small stock pot with 2 cups of water, 1 TBSP of tomato paste, 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (to taste). Simmer until the tomato paste is melted into the water. Pour this liquid over the stuffed zucchini.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website