Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes
When I found out that Oprah was holding an open casting call/audition for her new “Own” television station, I couldn’t wait to apply! I’ve spent the majority of my life dreaming and telling everyone my grandeur ideas. But, I have a bad habit of not following through with those aspirations. This year, I decided to turn over a new leaf and take action. No more wasting time dreaming about what could be. Instead, I want to take the steps to make those dreams a reality.
In order to portray who I am while showing my culinary point of view, I had to come up with a recipe that would essentially be “Katie on a plate” (in less than 3 minutes!) With my food, I really value using seasonal, local ingredients in recipes that are packed with flavor yet still healthy (without being diet food). For my featured recipe, I wanted to come up with something that utilized seasonal vegetables with other ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
I love these tomatoes because you can mix up the stuffing and use tons of different ingredients to switch up the flavors. They work great paired with a salad for a light summer dinner, or you can make a big batch as a side dish for a large crowd.
Couscous Stuffed Tomato Recipe
yields 1 dozen
1 dozen medium sized “on the vine” tomatoes
1 box of couscous
1 can of garbonzo beans, chopped
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped spinach
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot (or half an onion) chopped
1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Slice a very thing section off the bottom of the washed tomatoes to allow them to stand up without rolling around. Then slice off the tops and scoop out the insides with a spoon or melon baller. Spinkle the interior of the tomatoes generously with salt and then place upside down on a papertowel for 30 minutes. (If you skip this step, all that moisture would combine with the couscous mixture to make for a soggy stuffing).
In the meantime, pour the couscous grains into a large mixing bowl. Refer to the couscous box to find out the recommended amount of water to use to cook the grains. Bring that amount of water to a boil and once boiling, pour over the couscous. Stir together and cover with a lid for 5 minutes so the grains will steam and absorb the hot water. After 5 minutes, mix the garbonzo beans, pine nuts, basil, spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper into the couscous.
In a small saute pan, cook the shallots over medium-low heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil. As the shallots start to become translucent, add in the garlic and a pinch of salt. If the pan is dry, add more oil. After adding the garlic, saute for about 30-60 seconds longer, or until you can start to smell the garlic and it softens. Add the cooked shallots and garlic into the couscous mixture and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Spoon the mixture into the tomatoes and top with about a teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture. Place the tomatoes into the baking dish. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the breadcrumb topping.
Bake uncovered in the 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomato skin starts to split and soften.
Eat right away.