Saturday, December 12, 2009
Another meatless main dish
Last week, I made two dinners that were total flops. The recipes were tried and true but I was missing major ingredients or I doubled a spice that I shouldn't have . . . it was a mess. Then, I redeemed myself with this dish. I made it once, years ago for a friend who's a vegetarian and sort of forgot about the recipe. This time, I tweaked it quite a bit and I thought it was great.
If you eat a lot of meat, think about making a meatless main dish one night a week. It'll be healthier (vegetarian meals tend to contain more fiber and more vegetable-based nutrients) and better for the environment (see this if you're interested in how making a once-a-week change can make an environmental difference).
You can use any kind of bell pepper here - I prefer yellow but red would look festive this time of year. See the note at the end about blanching the peppers (not necessary, but will yield a more tender result).
Couscous Stuffed peppers (serves 4)
1 cup Israeli cous cous (or regular)
1 T olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 tsp. of garlic salt
2 c. fresh spinach
1 c. canned corn, drained
1 c. canned diced tomatoes
2+ T. diced green chiles
1 c. grated lowfat mozzarella
4 bell peppers, cored, stemmed, and seeded
Heat oven to 350 and coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the cous cous in a small saucepan according to package directions (usually 1 3/4 c. veg. broth to 1 c. cous cous) and set aside.
Heat oil in a large pan. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add corn, green chiles and tomatoes (with juice) and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes (don't wilt it too much). Remove from heat and drain the juice (important!). Stir it together with the cous cous and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the peppers upright in the baking dish and fill with stuffing, then top with a little more mozzarella. Bake 20 minutes and serve warm.
Note: With green peppers, I'd recommend after you seed the peppers, putting them in boiling water for 2 minutes and draining them before you fill them. They they'll get softer and be tastier when you eat them.
*I don't know where the original recipe came from - I scribbled it on a piece of paper a long time ago.