Have you been using your pantry and freezer supplies these past few weeks? I think my “pantry obsession” has been pretty steady ever since the governor ordered shelter-in-place a few weeks ago. I always do a pantry and freezer inventory in the spring, but this time the reason was not spring cleaning, but rather spring reassuring – convincing myself that we have enough food to stay well-nourished during these exceptional circumstances.
I only go out shopping once a week, usually to get fresh produce, bread and dairy products. This week I found a bunch of gorgeous bell peppers on clearance at my local grocery store. Couple beautiful peppers with couscous from the pantry and mixed veggies from the freezer, and you’ve got yourselves the perfect light spring meal 🙂
I started off by cooking the couscous as per the instructions on the packet, observing the 1 to 1.5 couscous-to-water ratio. I had some rather exotic Rice Select Pearl Couscous with Turmeric in my pantry, but you can you use any pearl couscous you have lying around, so to speak – just add 1tsp turmeric powder to it after cooking. In a separate pan, I placed the frozen veggies to give them a super quick boil.
While these two were cooking, I proceeded to wash and cut the peppers in half, making sure to take the seeds out.
Once the couscous and mixed veggies were cooked, I threw away the water, put them in a bowl, and gave them a quick toss.
I also added sliced green onion, slivers of sundried tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
I filled the pepper halves with the couscous mixture, and spread them neatly on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil sprayed with oil.
I gave each pepper a quick spray with oil right before putting the pan in the preheated oven.
I cooked the peppers for 35 minutes at 375F, until soft but still able to hold their shape. I served them as a hot light lunch, with chopped parsley sprinkled on top for extra flavor and visual appeal.
The perfect spring dish – or so I think. Just look at this beautiful blend of vibrant seasonal colors!
If you wish, you can easily turn this plant-based dish into a vegetarian one by adding cheese in the filling or on top of the peppers, at the end. I reckon either mozzarella or gruyere would work beautifully. Just thinking of that ooey-gooiness is making my mouth water, ha ha!
Cooking has gained a whole new meaning for me this spring. In an effort to keep myself and my family safe, I have stayed home most of the time, and I have thoroughly enjoyed using our household’s ingredient supplies to build dishes for enjoyment and sustenance. I can’t wait for summer – when hopefully Chicago’s farmers’ markets will brim again with colorful produce and chatty buyers and sellers. In the meantime, I’m trying to make the best out of the extraordinary current situation – one mindful pantry and freezer ingredient at a time.
Wishing you all a safe and healthy spring 🙂
Vegan couscous stuffed peppers
- 5 medium bell peppers, cut in half and deseeded
- 2.5 cups cooked pearl couscous
- 1.5 cup cooked mixed veggies (previously frozen)
- 1 sprig green onion, finely sliced
- 7 sundried tomatoes, finely sliced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Cooking spray, as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Put the couscous in a bowl, and add sundried tomatoes, green onion, and mixed veggies. Add turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined. Fill the pepper halves with the couscous & veggie mixture. Arrange pepper neatly on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil sprayed with oil. Give each pepper a quick spray with oil right before putting the pan in the oven.
- Cook the peppers for 35 minutes or until soft but still able to hold their shape. Take out of the oven and serve hot, with chopped parsley sprinkled on top for extra flavor and visual appeal.