Friday, May 24, 2013

Moroccan Chickpea-and-Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

There's almost nothing more satisfying than a stuffed vegetable entree. Not only do you get to enjoy a visually-striking meal, but you get to eat the container at the end. Almost any large veggie can be stuffed (think eggplant, big beefsteak tomatoes, or zucchini), or of course smaller ones for appetizer portions. Bell peppers pair well with this Moroccan-inspired filling, but try another veggie if you prefer. Look for bell peppers that are about 8 ounces each, to hold all the filling.

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/3 cups drained canned chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Veg Cuisine Mediterranean Herb feta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 2 tablespoons mango chutney*
1. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and membranes.  Arrange the pepper halves in a microwave-safe pie plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain any liquid from the pan and return the peppers to the pie plate.

2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic; saute for 2 minutes.  Add the cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon; saute for 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the chickpeas and broth, and bring to a boil.

4. Add the couscous.  Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.  The liquid should be absorbed.

5. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the feta, and 1 tablespoon mint. Divide the couscous mixture evenly among the 4 bell pepper halves.

6. Top each half with an additional 1 and 1/2 teaspoons feta, 3/4 teaspoon mint, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chutney.

*The spiciness of your chutney is up to you, but I recommend medium or hot chutney, not mild, in this case. A good vegan brand to try is Geeta's.

Nutrition Info:
2 servings (2 pepper halves), Calories 460

Tasting Notes:
There's a whole host of flavors going on here, making this dish a delight all around. Honestly the chickpea mixture is so good that you can nix the bell pepper container if you want something simpler, with beautiful spices, fresh mint, salty chickpeas and feta, and the sweetness and heat of the mango chutney on top. I worried the garlic flavor would be too strong, but it blends in nicely under the chickpeas and couscous. The bell pepper was a tender, lightly-sweet addition, but I think I would like this even better in a hollowed out eggplant.


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