When in need of an extra vegetable that can sub as a main meal for the vegetarian coming to your party, reference back to this recipe. I made these for Christmas and was in no way missing out during dinner.
What you’ll need:
- 8-10 medium tomatoes
- 1 box couscous
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 onion
- 1 cup 2 different kinds of mushrooms
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 package mozzarella cheese
Wash the tomatoes then start by cutting the tomatoes in half and spooning the center out into a bowl. I used a melon baller, which worked perfectly for this task. Set aside for later.
Next, fry the onions, mushrooms and garlic together with a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan. Cook until the mushroom turn dark brown in color and the onions become translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Everything should smell of garlic.
Toss in your greens and spices (spinach, basil, pepper, cayenne, Italian seasoning) next then cook until the basil shrinks, about 2-4 minutes.
While your vegetables are cooking you can start the couscous. Cook according to the directions replacing the water with vegetable broth. When the couscous is almost complete, stir in the sun-dried tomatoes until thoroughly heated (I used canned sun-dried tomatoes that were already softened). When I made this I used two boxes of couscous because I doubled up on the amount of tomatoes, but this is not necessary. One box was plenty and the condensed vegetable medley would have provided more flavors.
Next mix together your vegetables, couscous and tomato pulp in a mixing bowl.
Stuff the couscous blend into the tomato halves and place on a roasting pan.
Top each tomato shell with a healthy amount of cheese. Here you can experiment using parmesan, mozzarella, white cheddar or even fresh mozzarella slices. Another tasty option would be to mix parmesan inside the couscous mix and top with mozzarella.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.
To brown the top, broil for 3-5 minutes.
This was an excellent main course for Christmas for the vegetarian in our small group (me). My uncle stated that when he spooned in a piece of basil with his grains it made a huge difference in adding much-needed flavor to the boring couscous. The tomatoes mush, somewhat, when cooked allowing your fork to slice right through scooping up bits of grains, cheese, vegetables and tomato.
I took both the left over couscous medley, tasty just on its own, and whole tomatoes to lunch for the next week. Two was more than enough to keep me going until dinner. The couscous, similar to when you cook it, puffs up in your stomach keeping you full for quite a while with a healthy carbohydrate. To make this gluten-free simply substitute in quinoa for the couscous.