Late summer and early fall are my favorite times in my kitchen garden. The sun has kissed nearly every fruit, vegetable, and herbs growing in it. The raised beds are brimming with goodness ready to pick. I grow fairy tale eggplant because it is small, less watery, tender, and prolific. For six weeks these pretty purple striped, thin-skinned beauties spring from the vines. Zucchini is another story. Blink, and it can double in size in a day or two. I pick them small and keep them in the refrigerator. Then, the best part is figuring out how to eat all of the backyard harvest. This recipe is inspired by tastes of Provence and a favorite among family members. Pretty to serve, it is at once elegant and rustic, simple and sophisticated. Best of all, it is much like a sheet pan dinner--all of the elements for a balanced meal are on one baking tray which makes for easy clean up.
cuisine French
difficulty Easy
season Year Round
serves 6


4 cups dry day old bread, cubed

3 cups whole milk

12 tiny bell peppers, or 6 small ones

12 fairytale eggplant, or 3 small eggplants

12 tiny zucchini, or 6 small (no longer than 7")

6 small tomatoes (no larger than 4" D)

1.5 pounds spicy pork sausage

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Soak the bread cubes and milk in a medium bowl.
  2. Slice the tops of the tiny peppers off 1/4" down the pepper and remove the seeds (or slice the regular peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seeds, and white pith).
  3. Cut the eggplants and zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp leaving the shells 1/3" thick all around. Put the pulp of both vegetables in a bowl.
  4. Core the tomatoes and scoop out 1 to 2 tablespoons of meat and reserve for another use.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Squeeze the milk from the bread and add the bread to a large bowl.
  7. Finely chop the reserved vegetable pulp and add it to the large bowl with the bread. Add the sausage, garlic, onion, eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper. Gently mix all together without compacting the meat.
  8. Fry a tablespoon of meat and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Fill each vegetable with some of the sausage mixture to form a mound in the shells (the meat will shrink a bit when it is roasting).
  10. Place the stuffed vegetables on an ungreased half sheet baking tray and bake for 28 minutes to 40 minutes depending on the size of vegetables. The vegetables should be tender but still formed with a bit of crunchy texture.
  11. Serve straight from the oven, or at room temperature.