Tomatoes Stuffed with Couscous

Tomatoes-Stuffed-with-Couscous-015-EditThis dish is wonderful served as a vegetable side dish or as a light lunch entree. Brushing the inside of the tomato shell with Tabasco adds a robust hint of the Southwest.

1 cup regular couscous
6 large firm, ripe, red tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring to a boil 2 cups water in a medium-size saucepan. Add couscous and stir. Boil again, lower heat and cover. Simmer until all water has been absorbed. Stir to fluff, remove from heat and allow to stand 5 minutes. Cool in refrigerator.

Cut a 1/2-inch slice off the top of each tomato from the stem end. Discard seeds, remove pulp with a spoon, and chop pulp into small pieces. Set pulp aside for the filling. Lightly sprinkle tomato shell with salt and place upside down on a cookie sheet for approximately 10 minutes to drain its liquid. Mix together olive oil, Tabasco sauce, and garlic. Turn tomato shells upright and drizzle them with olive oil mixture.

When couscous is cold, toss green, orange and red peppers, green onions, parsley, and mint together with couscous. Add reserved tomato pulp, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again and taste for seasoning. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each tomato to keep them from rolling. Spoon filling into each prepared tomato shell. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve.

Serves 6

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