If you, like me, aren’t American and therefore don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, you might also find that the decadent holiday recipes abounding online can get a bit distracting. While I appreciate the sentiment of Thanksgiving, it can be difficult to plan healthy meals when there are all manner of indulgent dessert recipes and pies bombarding your eyes. But never fear, I am here! While today’s post is still a delicious recipe, it’s also very, very good for you. Perhaps if you did celebrate Thanksgiving you might want to make this to balance out some of that pumpkin pie.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m on a mission to try new fruits and vegetables. Sometimes it’s an item that I’ve never seen or heard of, sometimes it’s an item that I love but have never been game enough to cook, and sometimes it’s an item that has a bad rap. I like giving veggies a second chance. I find that usually it’s just a matter of doing it right. Case in point, chokos.
Chokos weren’t served in my family because they were so unpopular. It appears that that sentiment is fairly common, and why shouldn’t it be, when in Western cuisine they’ve been boiled to a flavourless mush! If you lightly fry a choko, shred it into a salad, or boil it gently and stuff it, it’s quite delicious. The flesh is soft and hydrating, and it’s got a mildy sweet, fruity flavour – somewhere between a pear and a cucumber. Rumour has it that chokos are used as a cheap filling for ‘apple’ pies, which is one sneaky way to get them into your diet. This dish isn’t sneaky at all, so if you have any skeptics you might want to blindfold them.
The stuffing could be anything really, but in this case it was a tasty mix of chickpeas, mushrooms and tomato. With a little spinach thrown in for good measure. Yum! This makes about double the amount that you would need to stuff one choko, which was lucky as Ash went for seconds.
Chickpea-Stuffed Choko (serves 2)
- 1 choko (a.k.a. chayote, mirliton)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 3/4 cup (half a tin) cooked chickpeas
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cube (1/6 box) frozen spinach
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- Wash chokos, chop in half and boil for 15-20 minutes, or until flesh is easily poked with a fork, but not mushy.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Saute onion and mushrooms in water until onion is translucent and a bit coloured.
- Scoop the flesh and seed from the choko halves, leaving at least a centimetre in the shell so that it holds it’s form. Chop up the flesh and seed.
- Add the chopped choko, chickpeas, tomato, tomato paste and frozen spinach to the onion and mushroom mix. Throw in a dash of water and cover for 5 minutes to soften the chickpeas and defrost the spinach.
- Smash up the chickpeas a bit, season with salt and then scoop the stuffing into the choko shells, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and paprika, and bake for 10 minutes or until the top is golden.
p.s. While I’ve got you here, check out what my friend and I did to some of the jars that have been clogging up my kitchen: