Monday, February 18, 2008

Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers

This is from Self magazine but was posted on Epicurious. It sounded good, and super-healthy due to all the vegetables, whole grains, and protein, but I was a little nervous about the flavor. I read the reviews and they recommended adding some extra seasonings and some garlic.

So I sauteed some garlic along with the onions before adding the rest of the vegetables. I used whole-wheat couscous for some extra health benefits. And then instead of using fennel and oregano, I used Penzeys' pizza seasoning. It has fennel, oregano, basil, onion, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, and cayenne pepper. This was a GREAT idea because it added a lot of extra flavor. We also used some low-fat feta cheese.

These peppers were really good. They're easy to make, especially for a stuffed pepper recipe, and provide so many nutritional benefits. Some pine nuts might be a nice addition if we make them in the future. We would make these again.

Tip from Lauren: To make peppers stand up in the casserole dish, slice a very thin part off from the bottom of the pepper so that the rounded parts are flat. Then it stands up! If you mess up and accidentally cut a hole in the bottom, just place a piece of the part you cut off into the inside of the pepper and patch up the hole.

pepper

Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers
Self magazine, September 2000

This nutrient-stuffed dish won't leave you hungry. What do you get when you give bell peppers center stage on your plate? A veggie-heavy meal that even a meat fiend will find too tempting to resist. Here we stuff antioxidant-rich bell peppers with couscous (a tiny, round pasta) and hardworking nutrient powerhouses like zucchini and yellow squash. The result? A meal low in fat, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins A and C.

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 1/4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup couscous
4 large bell peppers, mixed colors
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 oz zucchini, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
6 oz yellow squash, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan, add the couscous, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the stems and top half inch off the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and membranes. Boil trimmed peppers for 5 minutes, then drain them upside down. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Add onion, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel seeds, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and chickpeas. Using a fork, scrape the couscous into the skillet and toss with the vegetables. Stir in the crumbled feta. Place peppers upright in the baking dish and fill them with couscous. Bake 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

P.S. I'm submitting this to the ARF/5-a-Day Challenge, too!

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