In Louisiana, we call them mirlitons (pronounced meela-tawns in certain parts of the state). In your grocery store, you’ll probably find them labeled chayote. There are over a dozen different names for this watery, squash-like vegetable, which is used all over the world. I’ve grilled it, stewed it, and added it to soups and casseroles, but what I do most often is stuff it, usually with beans that have gotten the Louisiana treatment: spiced up with generous amounts of onion, green pepper, celery, and cayenne. But this time I wanted to make something closer to the mirlitons my mom makes, stuffed with a shrimp dressing and topped with bread crumbs. So I substituted a tofu version of my Okara “Crab” Cakes and topped them with crunchy panko bread crumbs. The result was a stroll down memory lane for my taste buds. (Okay, bad image, but you get the point!)
If you can’t find chayotes, feel free to stuff this into something else. Zucchini is probably the vegetable most like chayote in terms of texture (you won’t need to cook the zucchini first, though), but I think this would also make a good stuffing for artichokes or patty-pan squash. It’s a very light stuffing, so choose a lighter vegetable to stuff it in. Mmmm…now that’s good eatin’!
Seaside-Stuffed Mirlitons (Chayote)
The arame or wakame is what gives the stuffing its seafood taste, so be sure to use it or another type of sea vegetable.
- 4 mirlitons (aka Chayote or Chouchou)
- 1 package (about 14 oz.) firm (not silken) tofu
- 1/2 cup minced celery (use a food processor to chop all vegetables quickly)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1/2 green pepper, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, whirled to crumbs in blender
- 1-2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning or use Creole seasoning to taste
- 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons arame, wakame, or other sea vegetable
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- salt and pepper to taste
- panko or other toasted bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup)
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook the mirlitons until they are tender, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the water and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Once the mirlitons are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise (cutting through the widest side) and remove the seed. Use a grapefruit spoon or melon baller to remove the flesh from the center; be sure to keep the shell about 1/4-inch thick on all sides.
- In a large bowl, mash the mirliton pulp and set it aside. Mash the tofu and add it to the mirliton pulp.
- In a non-stick skillet lightly sprayed with olive oil, sauté the onion until it begins to brown. Add the celery, carrot, and pepper and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the sautéed vegetables to the tofu-mirliton mixture. Stir in the parsley, breadcrumbs, Old Bay seasoning, wakame (sea vegetable), and corn starch. Add salt to taste.
- Sprinkle the mirliton shells with salt and pepper, if desired, and stuff them with the tofu mixture, piling the mixture above the top of each mirliton. Sprinkle the tops with panko or dried bread crumbs, pressing it in lightly. Place them in a large baking dish and put them in the oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.
- Serve with tartar sauce or spicy cocktail sauce. (Tartar sauce is easily made with vegan mayo and sweet relish; make cocktail sauce using ketchup, prepared horseradish, and hot sauce, to taste.)
Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Makes 4 servings, two stuffed halves each. Each serving contains 234 Calories (kcal); 6g Total Fat; (21% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 276mg Sodium; 7g Fiber.