Friday, 4 September 2015

Giant Round Courgette (or Marrow) with a Rich Dark Puy Lentil Stuffing

Much as I loved getting away for a good summer break, the downside to going away for a lengthy holiday between June and the end of August is that you risk the vegetable plot going to pot and at best, miss out on the benefits of a sizeable chunk of the harvest. All that nurture and care from seedling to fruit can be lost in a moment of drought or neglect, or just because you are not there to pick the eagerly awaited produce.

Although we are lucky enough to have fantastic neighbours and friends who will willingly water our plants and ensure that the vegetables are picked and eaten (by them of course) before they rot, the input is generally minimal and we inevitably return to a jungle of untamed foliage and a crop which is on the verge of giving up in protest of the lack of love it has been offered!

And so it has been this summer....... By the time we got home from our two weeks in the sun, the French beans were done, the tomatoes were rampant, the onions were trampled, the greenhouse was impossible to enter for the greenery at the door and the courgettes were...... well...... you can see for yourselves...... monsters! The sweetcorn on the other hand had grown and flourished...... sweet and succulent and we have steamed and barbecued our way through every last kernel!

I had proudly grown a different variety of round courgette this year (in addition to the usual green and yellow long ones)..... they were amazingly versatile because of their different shape and were quite tender and delicious. Unfortunately, the generous crop that we had been beginning to enjoy before our holiday (and for which I had all sorts of exciting creative culinary plans) had by our return, dwindled to a single fruit on each plant. This was the same for our long courgettes! It turns out the neighbours thought they were squashes and marrows and consequently they had been left unpicked, so that we ended up with just a 'handful' of epic beasts!

This recipe comes out of the need to get creative with our over-large courgettes..... Mr GF (who has a particular love of cooking veg) had already stuffed and baked one with sausage meat and the rest seemed to be heading for the same fate, before I ring-fenced what was left for something a little more interesting!

Last year I had roasted some amazing Poblano peppers filled with a lentil stuffing. We had enjoyed them so much, that I decided to revisit and revamp the idea for stuffing the courgette.

Once peeled and deseeded (the skin on these monster babies was quite tough), the large round courgettes made perfect bowls for stuffing. The Puy lentils, mixed with a selection of vegetables, beans, nuts, cheese and herbs, worked magic to offset the neutrality of the courgette and to pimp it up into something extraordinary. Rich, dark and satisfying, the flavours and textures fuse together so that each mouthful is an exciting combination of soft, crisp, crunchy, creamy, cheesy, tart, sweet, earthy amazement. The goats cheese popped on the top adds an extra decadent dimension which marries beautifully...... a little creamy, rich treat which can be saved until the end or eaten little by little, slithered away to accompany each lentilly forkful.

I can't decide whether the photos do the dish justice or not! But either way, be assured that it tastes fantastic and is one healthy bowl of loveliness!

I am sharing this dish with the following :

Meat Free Mondays with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes.

Cook Once Eat Twice - a new food blogging challenge with Corina at Searching for Spice, who is encouraging us to share those dishes which can provide us with sustenance for more than one meal. This courgette was so huge we got a good couple of meals out of just one fruit..... A word of warning though..... goats cheese is better reheated in the oven..... we microwaved to heat up the leftovers and ended up with cheesy goats cheese bricks on the top!

Extra Veg - this month with Feeding the Boys and a Firefighter on behalf of Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours.

No waste Food Challenge with Foodie Quine and Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.

Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.

Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins.

Free From Fridays with The Free From Farmhouse.

My Legume Love Affair with Zesty South Indian Kitchen with Lisa's Kitchen and The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Giant Round Courgette (or Marrow) with a Rich Dark Puy Lentil Stuffing


1 to 2 large round 'courgettes', marrows or squash
170g Puy lentils
1 vegetable stock cube or bouillon 
400g (approx) cherry tomatoes - roasted as in this recipe (without the balsamic)
olive oil for frying
½ stick celery - chopped
1 large onion - chopped
2 large cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 small red chilli - deseeded & finely chopped
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon marmite (no longer GF - therefore optional if you are not GF)
3 tablespoons sweetcorn kernels
210g tin kidney beans
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
good grind black pepper
7 walnuts - shelled & chopped
90g grated mature cheddar cheese (or suitable vegetarian alternative)
100g soft goats cheese (optional) - cut into cubes or slices


  1. Prepare your cherry tomatoes by roasting as here, without the balsamic.
  2. Prepare the lentils according to the packet instructions by simmering in the stock for about 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked (but not mushy). Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, saute the celery, onion, garlic and chilli in the olive oil until soft (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  4. Add the roasted tomatoes and tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the marmite and stir through.
  6. Add the sweetcorn and then the kidney beans, cooked lentils, herbs and pepper, stirring thoroughly.
  7. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, before adding the walnuts and grated cheddar cheese and folding through the mixture to combine. Set aside.
  8. Prepare the marrow or courgette by peeling the skin (if tough), cutting in half and scooping out the seeds. Place in a large baking dish.
  9. Stuff the courgette/marrow with the lentil stuffing. 
  10. Put 2 tablespoons water in the base of the dish and cover the stuffed squash with baking paper and/or foil.
  11. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, or until the marrow/courgette is soft.
  12. Place the pieces of goats cheese on the top and return to the oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes (uncovered) to allow the cheese to melt a little.
  13. Serve hot and enjoy.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated


  1. To me this looks gorgeous. I love stuffed marrows at this time of year but have never had these lovely round ones before or made a lentil stuffing. I am also a big fan of goats cheese too but unfortunately rarely cook with it as my husband doesn't like it. Thank you so much for linking up with #CookOnceEatTwice too.

    1. Thank you Corina. The round courgettes/marrows are so good.... you you should try them sometime! It really was a lovely dish with the lentil stuffing too x

  2. Wow that is a big courgette! I love cooking with vegetables out the garden. #freefromfridays

    1. Yeah.... That's what I said when we saw it in the garden! Made for a huge (and very healthy) meal though!

  3. When my dad had an allotment a few years ago we ended up with loads of massive marrows - I wish I'd known about this recipe then as I love puy lentils. Sounds and looks delicious! #freefromfridays

    1. Thanks Mandy. Maybe you could grown some more..... There is something quite satisfying about such a healthy dish and I agree, puy lentils are particularly delicious!

  4. An allotment is such a commitment... we had one for a couple of years and loved it but sadly couldn't keep up! I'm loving this recipe... looks like such a feast! I don't use lentils often enough and this has inspired me to work them into my autumnal cooking plans. Thanks for hooking up with September's round of #ExtraVeg

    1. Thank you Katie. Every time I use lentils, I say the same thing and vow that I will use them more often. This year I hope to keep my promise!

  5. I love a puy lentil dish! Not only are they puy lentils delicious but I find their glossy, dark good looks very exciting!

    1. Thanks CC. I totally agree. This stuffing had a beautiful dark mysteriousness about it!

  6. Oh wow this sounds so delicious! We often get a glut of courgettes so this would be a great recipe to remember. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

  7. Mmm, I wish I could take a bite from the screen! I bet it's delicious :D

  8. There is something so satisfying in mixing beans nuts and cheese - this sounds wonderful - glad you got to enjoy a little of your garden upon returning - it sounds so impressive all the veg in there

    1. Absolutely Johanna. Delicious, filling, warming.... We enjoyed every mouthful and were very grateful there was at least something left to harvest x

  9. That's a whopper and your tasty stuffing is an excellent way to use it up an avoid waste. Thanks for linking up to the #nowastefoodchllenge

    1. It certainly was Claire! But all the better for stuffing!

  10. That looks amazing! I love puy lentils and this looks like an impressive way to serve them. A great idea!

    1. Thank you! There is something very wholesome about lentil-stuffed squashes! These were delicious.

  11. This is lovely & perfect for use for those giant courgettes which seem to appear overnight, I adore puy lentils, so full of flavour. Thanks for linking up with #extraveg

  12. I envy you your green fingers - I bet those home grown sweetcorns were just amazing! I love the sound of the dish too - that filling, mmmm, perfect! Thank you for sharing with the No Waste Food Challenge! :)

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Home grown sweetcorn are so different to the supermarket ones! Apart from being full of fresh picked flavour, they have a more moist, slightly sticky texture....
      It's amazing what you can grow in a small space (even if neglected)!


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