Saturday, March 10, 2012

tomatoes stuffed with israeli couscous pilaf

Kumatoes are known for their dark flesh and big flavor. Stuffed with couscous? Even better.
During winter here in the Northeast, it's impossible to find a good tomato--which is normal if you're eating seasonal produce. But sadly, these days, uncovering a tomato that does not taste like pulp in any season is a rarity. When I was a kid, I snacked on tomatoes, just as I munched on apples and pears. Those farm-grown tomatoes were perfection: sweet, juicy with a slight acidic kick. They remain the standard against which I measure the flavor of all tomatoes.

I usually purchase local produce out of principle. But last week, a carton of imported, dark-fleshed kumatoes beckoned to me from the grocery aisle. They look like tomatoes with a suntan. I had never tried them, so I answered the produce sirens' call. Instead of the usual wallpaper paste flavor and texture of packaged tomatoes, one sweet bite rocket-blasted me back to my childhood tomatoes. Yes, they came all the way from Mexico, but the kumatoes tasted so delicious that honestly, I'd buy them again. [What can I say? I'm human.]

I probably could have eaten the entire carton unadorned in just one sitting. But the deep, burnished red fruits were so pretty that they begged to be transformed into something special. So I decided to stuff these little beauties with an Israeli couscous pilaf, flavored with typical Mediterranean seasonings – just the dose of sunshine this chilly Philly girl needed.

Serve the couscous pilaf as a side, or stuff any vegetable you like with it.
You can also serve the Israeli Couscous Pilaf as a side, or use it to stuff other veggies: think broiled mushroom caps, peppers, cucumbers, baby zucchini, etc. Recipes should be a springboard to your own creativity--not a rule to be followed blindly.

Please don't forget to enter the contest to win a carton of yummy, creamy flax milk. I'll announce the winner soon.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Israeli Couscous Pilaf
  • 1/2 cup Israeli couscous, dry
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth 
  • 4 tomatoes [Try kumatoes, if you can]
  • 3 kale leaves, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp flax or olive oil
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 3 T slivered, toasted almonds [Optional]
Serves 4 as a side

Cook couscous in vegetable broth al dente according to package directions. [Save vegetable broth when draining and reserve for soup or another use.]

Slice tops from tomatoes. Carefully scoop out middles, leaving about 1/4-inch tomato "wall" and turn upside-down to drain. Dice middles and tops, and set aside. Don't worry about the seeds.

Mix remaining ingredients, except almonds, in a casserole dish. Toss gently with the drained couscous and let sit for an hour or so in the refrigerator so the flavors can meld and infuse and "cook" the raw kale.

With a teaspoon, stuff each tomato with the couscous. Top with slivered almonds, if desired.

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5 comments:

Millie said...

Delicious Dynise...my mouth is watering.

erica said...

i just followed a few of your board on pinterest :) i hope you are well!! xoxo erica ex sheseescolor

Victoria Moran said...

Hi:

I just came across your fantastic blog while doing some promo work for the upcoming book Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran--everything on your blog looks so delicious!! Right now we're working on promoting a new Tumblr page www.mainstreetvegan.tumblr.com where any vegan can post a photo and and complete the sentence "I'm vegan and..." We'd love to get the word out in the vegan community, and show the world what adiverse, healthy, beautiful (and completely normal!) people vegans are. If you'd ever like to share this Tumblr link on your blog it would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much for your help and I look forward to checking out your blog again in the future!

Best wishes,

Adair

This American Bite said...

You answered my prayers! I was wondering what to do with Israeli Cous Cous for Friday night dinner, I have so much of it waiting to be used.

MeShell said...

That looks great... really great. I'm thinking about how much I love stuffing stuff with other stuff.

Israeli Couscous is such a great one that along with anchellini pasta are great for this sort of thing.

Yum!