Couscous is a pretty familiar food to me ever since my dad spent two years in Morocco, in the 90s. I have formed a rather gloomy image in my head about Morocco, based on the bits and pieces of what my dad has shared with me about his experience there. However, this impression has been challenged every time I went to a Moroccan restaurant. The traditional Moroccan food I have tried is not only full of vibrant flavors but also very colorful and pleasant looking. Perhaps my father’s perception of Morocco was shaped by his emotional state at the time. That period of time, the 90s, was a very turbulent one for Eastern Europe, with the fall of the communist block and all the changes and adjustments following. In fact, Eastern Europe has never been a very quiet place, there was always some trouble brewing somewhere. Affected, probably, by this whole tumult and having to leave his family for a work opportunity abroad, my dad didn’t care much about experiencing Morocco culturally, the way I would if I went there someday (which I will!). However, he brought with him little bits and pieces of Morocco, some of which never left our household once they entered. Couscous is one of them. You will always find couscous in my parents’ house, they buy it every week and there are always 2 or 3 boxes stored in the pantry. When I moved out, I took the couscous with me, so whenever I want to cook something both filling and light, when I need a side for my asparagus, a bed for my grilled zucchini or curried beans, I reach for the couscous box. Today I wanted to incorporate some raw veggies in my meal but also needed some carbs, since I started my Beachbody Insanity workouts again, along with yoga. This meal was exactly what I needed for lunch to restore my strength after the excruciatingly intense workout that is Insanity (you have got to check this out if you haven’t already!).
- 6 medium bell peppers
- 2 cups whole wheat couscous
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp herbes de provence (dried)
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 1 pinch salt
- 2½ cups water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup minced bell peppers (cam be replaced with ripe tomatoes)
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrot shavings (with a vegetable peeler)
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
- 1 tsp minced fresh chives
- In a medium pan, put the water to boil. Add the salt, olive oil, herbes de provence, curry powder and cinnamon to the water. Bring the water to almost a boiling point, then remove it from the stove top.
- Add the couscous to the water. Stir very gently so that the herbs and the oil are incorporated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the tomato sauce, the minced bell peppers (or minced tomatoes), green onion, garlic, carrot shavings, thyme, chives.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add it to the bowl of vegetables. Stir very gently until the couscous and vegetables are mixed.
- Cut the bell peppers in two equal parts. Remove the green stems and the seeds from the peppers.
- Fill the pepper halves with couscous.
- Decorate with herbs and serve.
I really liked the lightless of this meal. Raw vegetables are always a winner and the couscous has the texture of puffy clouds, it just melts in your mouth! I only use whole wheat organic couscous but this does not add any coarseness to the dish. Hm, could this actually be the perfectly balanced meal for me? It most certainly could! But then there’s stuffed eggplants with tempeh and mango curry in lettuce bowls and roasted tomato soup…I don’t think I can make such a drastic decision.
I hope you are enjoying this weekend. It’s been raining and chilly in Toronto so it’s all about warming teas and hot yoga for me these days.