Spring is in the air and vegetables are abundant! I had some Lebanese zucchini on hand that I had to use before going bad. I decided to make zucchini loaves that my family thoroughly enjoys. Sometimes, I use a variety of meats and cheeses for the filling, and other times, I use pesto, spinach, arugula, red and green peppers, you name it!
You can make this recipe as pies if you prefer; however I like loaves better because making individual size pies takes too long and I don’t have any help. So, loaves will be what’s coming!!!
Ingredients for the dough:
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil or light olive oil
- Vegetable spray for the cookie sheets
Proof the yeast by dissolving it in 1/4 cup of the warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You will notice bubbles forming and the yeast foaming. If there is no foam, then the yeast is dead and you need to replace it.
Add the yeast, oil and salt to the flour and mix. I use my standing mixer however, you can mix by hand if you wish. Add the remaining water a little at a time till you have a soft dough. Cover the prepared dough and let it rise for an hour in a warm place to double in size while you’re preparing the filling.
I use a variety of herbs from my garden, here I have some fresh organic mint, basil, za’atar or oregano, and thyme.
Wash the zucchini and chop them with skin on.
Then add chopped basil, tomatoes ( squeeze the juices out), bell peppers, carrots, mint, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Squeeze all the juices out of the mixture before using it.
Cut half of the dough with a knife and set aside. Roll the other half on a well-floured counter and make slits on both sides of the dough. Mount the filling in the center and start braiding the loaf like hair braids.
Start with both ends first to seal the loaf like the picture below.
Braid the dough by bringing the opposite sides together to seal in the filling.
Once done, the loaf will look like so:
Spray the loaf with vegetable spray and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top before baking it.
If you like extra heat in your food, you can spread some chili paste in the center of the dough prior to the filling.
Before baking, mark the loaf with the chili paste with a red dot to tell it apart! Spray the loaves with vegetable spray and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake the loaves for 20 minutes or until their color turns golden on top. Let the baked goodies rest for 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.
Ingredients for the filling:
- 6 zucchinis, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 tomatoes (squeeze all their juices out) diced
- 2 medium size carrots, diced
- 1 bunch each of fresh mint, thyme, basil, oregano (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (dibis rimman)
- Salt, pepper, to taste.
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Chili paste (optional)
- Sesame seeds (topping)
- Proof the yeast by dissolving it in 1/4 cup warm water and the sugar. Let it sit for about 10 minutes till it start foaming.
- Wash the zucchini and dice them with skin on.
- Add all the remaining ingredients (minus the sesame seeds), mix well.
- Squeeze all the extra juices out before using this filling on top of the dough. (see pictures above)
- Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and lay the braided loaves over it.
- Spray additional oil on top of each loaf and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top before baking for 20 minutes or until golden in color.
- Let the baked loaves rest for 10 minutes before slicing them and enjoying them with your family!!! Their yummy texture is crunchy and light 🙂
- You can freeze the unbaked loaves and baked them at a later date.