Lest you think I volunteered myself to go to Ithaca (New York) for three days so I can learn more than any one {sane rational} person should ever know about “membrane trafficking”, I’ll have you know that I was exiled.


Out of my apartment, out of my lab, out of my city, out of my comfy cozy bed and certainly out of my comfort zone.

All because my boss thinks it will be good for me to go to a conference and learn about science. Or something.

Doesn’t he realize that I need somewhat smog-filled air and a Starbucks on every corner in order to oxygenate my lungs and sate my coffee-loving soul?!?


Not to mention the fact that I can’t even imagine what a certain Eats Well With Others boyfriend is going to get himself into without me there for three days.  How will he ever eat without me there to feed him?!  These are questions we just probably don’t want to know the answers to. Am I right, or am I right?

Anyways, so if you need me I’ll be busy doodling, distracting myself with Twitter like it’s my life, and thinking up ways to sneak of out of the afternoon talks so that I can beg some poor innocent Cornell student to give me a ride over to the {REAL! LIVE!} Moosewood Restaurant which is only 1.2 miles away from where the conference is being held.  Oh yes. I WILL be making lemonade out of these membrane trafficking talk lemons. Or.Else.

Oh and I shall also be daydreaming about these cute little stuffed zucchini. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned about conference food during my 26 years of life, it’s that it does not consist of summer vegetables stuffed with my favorite middle eastern flavors. Not by a long shot.


One year ago…Warm Fava Shallot Barley Salad, Spinach, Fava Bean and Quinoa Cakes
Three years ago…Zucchini Sausage Pizza
Four years ago…Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Persian Rice-Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachio and Dill
Serves 6, adapted from Cooking Light June 2012


  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 3/8 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 8 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped, shelled, dry-roasted unsalted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup dried black lentils, cooked according to package directions


  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell (I used a small cookie scoop to do so!). Chop up the pulp and set aside. Place the zucchini halves cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add a tbsp of olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the rice, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/4 tsp salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the dried apricots. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Spoon the rice mixture into a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, salt, black pepper, orange rind, lemon juice, and orange juice. Add this dressing to the rice along with the pistachios, dill, parsley, goat cheese, and lentils. Toss to combine.
  5. Preheat the broiler to high. Spoon the rice mixture into the zucchini shells and then broil for 6 minutes. Serve warm.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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69 Responses to Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachio and Dill

  1. Pam says:

    I hope your trafficking is going better than my math!

  2. What a beautiful, simple summery recipe – full of gorgeous flavours. I can’t get enough of pistachios at the moment and love the pairing with dill.

  3. Good luck surviving the conference! I think hopping in the car with a college student to escape is genius.

  4. Love these zucchini boats 🙂 They’re so cute – and pretty too, at the same time. 🙂 Oh, aaand, delicious! Obvi. Hope the conference goes okay!

  5. This looks so good with the cinnamon and apricot and everything going on in them, yum. Hope your conference ends up to be fun? If I leave my BF alone, he eats taco bell and burger king for every meal *shudders*

  6. Oh my, I have never used zucchinis in such a way. What a great idea, so versatile and so healthy. I need to make this and soon 🙂

  7. You may be surprised–Cornell University food is famously good. The Ag school makes, grows, and raises quite a bit of the food served on campus.

  8. Science conferences are SO WEIRD! They sometimes have good food…but usually people just get overly tipsy and don’t care what they eat anyway. Plus you have to sleep away from your own bed…and that’s just silly. When I leave P- or when P- leaves me, he eats soooo much junk food! Wonder if M- will do the same, haha!

  9. How funny Joanne! I posted early this morning Stuffed Zucchini with Quinoa – and I love your zucchini boats -they are just as healthy! Foodie brains think alike – lol….

  10. Kathy says:

    Oh Joanne, These stuffed zucchini look fabulous! Love the flavors in the stuffing.
    Enjoy the conference and tell us about the Moosewood Restaurant…I would love to have a meal there.

  11. Katie K says:

    Oh my gosh- I live in Ithaca! I can’t vouch for the conference, but the town is great! And it’s summer! Go splash in a creek. Or hiking in a gorge. You can do both on campus! There are Starbucks… but you should pass those up and go to gimme coffee. Really. The whole giant hill thing is a little scary, but the #10 bus will take you up/down, and it’s only a block or two to Moosewood from there. And *please* eat dessert at Madeline’s. And so much local ice cream to choose from! Enjoy your visit!

  12. OH! Now, honestly, Ithaca itself doesn’t appeal much, but the thought of going to the actual Moosewood Restaurant is pretty darn exciting! I hope you can find yourself there and to other unknown Ithaca gems (there’s got to be some, right?).

  13. wonderfully creative ingredients – and have fun in Ithaca!
    Mary x

  14. Erica says:

    What a beautiful dish, Joanne!Great summer the colors,textures and flavors!

  15. Kevin Lynch says:

    Those are some really tasty looking stuffed zucchini’s!

  16. Pam says:

    At least you will be able to hit Moosewood! Have fun at the conference. Loving the stuffed zucchinis… YUM!

  17. I love stuffed zucchini and the flavors you combined in these are just to die for delicious! Thanks for sharing, Joanne!

  18. Abby says:

    Can I just say that I get so excited to see what you’ve posted next? You always have the most creative, healthy, awesome recipes. And I’m super jealous you will get to go to Moosewood! 🙂

  19. I keep finding all these great zucchini recipes in my feed today. This looks like a great summer party treat.

  20. i so wanna go to moosewood! i have molly katzen’s book and love it so much… i have cooked many things from it and loved everything! sorry you have to sit through those talks, but i like your plans already!

    this zucchini recipe looks super delish! i cooked something that looked like this from plenty, i think it had currants in it (it was a while ago).

  21. SouthBayGuy says:

    Moosewood? That was my first vegetarian cookbook. You must now go and tell us all about it. BTw, zuccs will be coming out of garden in a couple weeks. This sounds like a wonderful recipe!

  22. Katerina says:

    Oh I am sure he will all feed himself with everything you can imagine haha! But that’s ok, you will return and save the day again! The zucchinis look absolutely mouthwatering!

  23. Those look delish. What a great idea to use lentils to stuff the zucchinis. So much flavor here!

  24. Pistachios and dill…yum yum. These little boats look delicious. I’m hoarding courgette recipes for when I have courgettes coming out of my ears very soon- judging by the look of my garden 🙂

  25. Amy says:

    Omg. The Moosewood restaurant? That’s like Mecca for you! As for the boy…he’ll be eating potato chips for 3 days. What else?

  26. YUM! I love the addition of pistachios in these.

    Have a great time at the conference learning about membrane trafficking! Sounds exciting 😉

  27. Gloria Baker says:

    Love these zucchinis Joanne! Hope you have a great time at the conference!xo

  28. Your kitchen must be so stocked with fun ingredients, you always add the most interesting things (in this case, black lentils) to your dishes! Sorry you have been exiled, but hope that restaurant partially makes up for it!

  29. Wondering what they eat when left alone, is one of those mysteries best left unknown! The stuffed zucchini sounds amazing. Way better than conference food!

  30. have fun Joanne! I hope you make it to Moosewood!! great way to use up zucchini!

  31. Well, well, well… don’t you make zucchini look good 😉 xo

  32. Dining Alone says:

    Well try to make the best of it I guess 🙂 Just followed you on twitter!

  33. Eileen says:

    Dude, you will have a great time! Conferences are so fun. Of course, it depends on how interested you are in the proceedings, but still. This recipe looks like the perfect way to make the massive influx of farmer’s market zucchini into a full meal. I love it!

  34. pistachio and dill? You really are a genius! Girl- you are making me look bad as I have not used those combos ever and I am thinking its about time

  35. Guru Uru says:

    This zucchini looks so delicious, I love the flavours in this, especially the pistachio 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  36. That Girl says:

    Hey, at least it’s Ithaca in the summer. Can you imagine having to go in December?

  37. Michelle says:

    Pistachio & dill sound fantastic! Conference food is usually the pitts!

  38. grace says:

    your zucchini boats look awesome, joanne! pistachios, apricots, and all that citrus must be so wonderful together.

  39. Beth says:

    Love your zucchini. And I can’t wait to hear about Moosewood!

  40. My sister goes to Ithaca, and when I went to visit her, we went to Moosewood! You’ll love it!

  41. Hotly Spiced says:

    I can imagine you having a lot of trouble at the buffet at the conference. Best of luck there! At least it’s only three days. It’s like that episode of Seinfeld when Jerry forces Elaine to go to his parents condo in Florida for the weekend. Just stay off the painkillers and don’t start yelling, ‘Stella’. Just friended you on twitter! xx

  42. I love zucchini and love the preparation of this dish. Looks delicious Joanne!

  43. Eeek! Moosewood! Enjoy your little “get-a-way”! I love these…especially the lentils.

  44. P says:

    I am not a raw zucchini fan, but I would most certainly eat these!

  45. Oh this looks great! I love zucchini cooked almost any way!

  46. Blond Duck says:

    I’ve always wanted to try this!

  47. Deborah says:

    Sounds like an, um, interesting conference. 🙂 I’m totally digging the flavors in this zucchini!!

  48. I went to Ithaca when my sister was looking at colleges, and I highly recommend Ithaca Bakery for sandwiches and Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop (go for the raspberry soft serve!)

  49. Kari says:

    Mm, can’t say you’ve convinced me this conference is somewhere I’d want to be – but I hope you find some lemonade perks and I’m sure returning home will make all the Starbucks and smoggy air seem even better for their absence 😉

  50. They look so good. I hope you enjoy the conference but more I hope you get to go to Moosewood

  51. The boy will survive, Joanne, and miss you MORE :-))
    The stuffed zucchini halves look divine!

  52. Lynn says:

    You’ll get to go to Moosewood???? Lucky! Have a great trip.

  53. G’day! Love stuffed zucchini, true!
    Love this combination, recipe and your photo too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  54. Johanna GGG says:

    such delicious stuffed vegies – and I am jealous of you being so near the moosewood restaurant – I want to go there so much that I would sit through any boring conference presentations – we can swap!

  55. Ashley says:

    These are gorgeous!! Hope you were able to make a run for Moosewood – how exciting!! 🙂

  56. At least Moosewood can be your saving grace! These look fantastic.

  57. Reeni Pisano says:

    I’ll be jealous but I hope you got to go to Moosewood! Stuffed zucchini is one of my favorite things in the world! The flavors in these are stunning!

  58. We got our first summer squash in our CSA this week, and I’m anticipating getting much more…definitely going to try stuffing it!

  59. Chris says:

    I like doing stuffed zucchini boats on the grill, it’s an easy side dish with a ton of flavor and color. Yours looks great, Joanne!

  60. I made something similar to this last night for dinner! It was a hit!

  61. ooh, i sure hope you got to moosewood!! how cool 🙂

  62. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh goodness, this looks amazing and so satisfying too! I love this 🙂

  63. Ahhh I grew up in Ithaca! I hope you loved it! And, if you’re like me, you loved being able to come back to NYC very soon afterwards. Yayyy Cornell love!

  64. Membrane trafficking, huh? These delicious-looking stuffed zucchini are definitely more daydream-worthy!

  65. […] in giant bunches, and you only need about 2 tablespoons for this recipe, so please click here and here and here for other ways to use up your glorious spring-time smelling dill.  But in the […]

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