Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vegan Mediterranean Couscous Stuffed Peppers with Vegan 3 Herbed Tzatziki

Like I mentioned before, I was a server at a Turkish restaurant in Madison all through my college years.  This is when I really fell in love with that cuisine.  Of course the hummus was to die for.  But what I loved about some of the dishes was the incorporation of sweet and savory in the main dishes.  For example, apricots played a big part in sauces used for a stuffed chicken breast.  Of course, I never tried the chicken, but clearly had to taste the sauce.  It was amazing!  Dried fruit was also used in a beautiful aromatic rice to go with entrees as well.

Sadly enough, this establishment is no longer there.  But, I hope I pay homage to those flavors that sang brilliantly in those dishes.

Remember there are 3 varieties of couscous:  Moroccan couscous, Israeli couscous and Lebanese couscous.  Here, we are using Moroccan couscous, which are tiny grains of semolina.  This type cooks quite quickly (about 10 minutes)!

 Because I love sauce, (and I mean I LOVE) sauce, I chose to accompany this vibrant stuffed pepper with a 3 herb vegan tzatziki sauce.  You can also make it in a more traditional manner, but I have so many herbs outside, I have to use them before the real cold weather comes.  So, if you are like me, use your mint, parsley and basil in this vegan yogurt-cucumber sauce.

Vegan Mediterranean Couscous Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
2 bell peppers, lids chopped and and seeds removed
1 c dry Moroccan couscous
2 c vegetable broth
10 halved roasted cherry tomatoes (or just fresh tomatoes)
1/2 c dried fruits (ie- apricots, prunes, apples)
1/4 c chopped artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1/4 c chopped Spanish green olives
1 handful of fresh parsely, chopped
3 tbsp chopped scallions
1 tbsp evoo
1 lemon juiced
s+p to taste
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven 400.  In a pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil, add in couscous, turn to low and simmer for just about 8-10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Transfer couscous to a mixing bowl, and add in all of the ingredients.  Mix well, season to taste and stuff the peppers.  Place in oven for about 45 minutes.  Serve with vegan tzatziki sauce.

for the vegan tzatziki:
1/2 c vegan unflavored and unsweetened yogurt
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped basil
1 garlic clove minced

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt to taste.

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