Too often, stuffed vegetables seem like a gimmick: very cute, not so very delicious. To me, that’s sacrilege. Fresh produce is my inspiration. I adore it, and I know from years of experience as a chef that veggies can (and should) be the star of the meal, especially at this time of peak-season abundance.
If ever a veg dish were ripe for reinvention, it’s stuffed vegetables. Dismayed by the lackluster versions I’ve encountered, I set out to overhaul the whole concept, focusing on a few of the most-likely candidates—poblano peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant—and giving them complete makeovers. At the outset of the project, I had three goals in mind:
1. I wanted to make sure the base vegetable heightened the flavor profile of the finished dish and wasn’t just a hollowed-out shell that served as receptacle for stuffing.
2. I was determined to ensure that the parts and pieces that I scooped out (and paid for) would not be carelessly tossed away but instead would be used as an element of a can’t-get-enough-of-it filling.
3. I aimed for a finished dish that would hold its own at the table as a hearty, crowd-pleasing main course.
I am happy to report that I succeeded. The delicious results are the recipes here. If you have the good fortune of being inundated with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, zucchini, and other stuffable veggies, I hope you’ll give my recipes a try. Perhaps you’ll even use them as fodder for your own creative variations on the theme.