Middle Eastern people love stuffing vegetables with a tantalizing combination of rice, meat and herbs such as parsley and mint. They stuff everything from zucchini and eggplant to potatoes, tomatoes and even carrots. Imagine the effort it takes to core out a carrot in order to stuff it with rice – but somehow, many a Middle Eastern grandmother has done the deed.
One vegetable “vessel” underutilized in the Middle East is butternut squash, which is not indigenous to the region. This deep-orange-fleshed gourd originated in Central and South America, then moved north to the United States. Butternut squash has a sweet and nutty taste with a tan-yellow outer skin. This vegetable is also a great source of fiber, magnesium and potassium, along with a good dose of vitamins C and A.