couscous stuffed red peppers

I’m not always good at simple. Looking back at some of recipes I’ve posted recently, I realized that I heavily rely on my vitamix and my food processor. To me, these things are not a hassle, but “old me”, (in a previous life, I never used to cook), would completely skip over a recipe if it asked me to drag out my food processor. Even if i could find all of the pieces for it, I wasn’t interested in the mess and the cleanup.

So the other night, I set out to make something that didn’t require fancy ingredients or any kind of gadget. This stumped me for a few minutes and then I revisited Nigel Slater’s book, Tender… which I think is the perfect book when you need “less-is-more” kind of inspiration. His recipes don’t require exact measuring, and they serve as more of a guide than a precise process.

In lazy late-summer spirit, I settled on this herb-packed roasted red pepper recipe with  yogurt sauce. I realize the ingredient list here doesn’t look super short, but I promise it goes quick. And feel free to put away the measuring spoons… it’s ok eyeball your ingredients, and alter things as you wish.

serves 2-3
adapted from Nigel Slater’s Tender

INGREDIENTS:
2 red bell peppers, halved, remove seeds and ribbing
3/4 cup israli couscous (pre-cooked), or use quinoa or any grain you have
olive oil
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
ground sweet paprika, 1/2 teaspoon
1 garlic clove, minced (save half for the yogurt sauce below)
1 lemon, zest and juice (half goes in the yogurt sauce below)
mint, handful chopped, (reserve some for yogurt sauce)
cilantro, big handful chopped, (reserve some for yogurt sauce)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, chopped
2 big handfuls of wilt-able baby greens (I had baby kale)
1/4 cup dried currants
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt, pepper, to taste

yogurt sauce:
1 individual sized container yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
remainder of 1/2 clove minced garlic from above
remaining 1/2 lemon juice and zest from above
splash agave
pinch of paprika
chopped herbs, reserved from above
salt, pepper, to taste

METHOD:
preheat oven to 350

Prep all ingredients, mix yogurt sauce together and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.

Place peppers cut side open on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt, bake for 15 minutes or until they begin to soften.

Cook couscous in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). When it’s finished, drain and set aside. Toss it in a bit of olive oil so the little pearls don’t stick together.

In a large skillet over medium heat, pour a few splashes of olive oil, toss in scallions, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir a bit, then add lemon zest and kale. Stir some more, let kale wilt down a bit. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice, stir in herbs, toasted pine nuts, currants and red pepper flakes. Add the couscous. Mix together until herbs and greens are just wilted and everything is combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. (If it’s a bit too bold and spicy at this point, that’s ok – once you bake it with the sweet peppers, the flavors will dial down).

Fill the peppers. If all of the filling doesn’t fit, it’s ok, just set the remainder aside and scoop it on top at the end.

Bake, uncovered, for about 10 -12 minutes. Alternatively, if you like your peppers much softer, cover them with foil and bake longer. I prefer my cooked peppers to still have a little bite. (also, I pre-baked the peppers so the herbs in the filling wouldn’t burn – I find, unless you cover your stuffed peppers with a layer cheese, these grain fillings become a bit dry if cooked the entire way with the peppers).

Remove peppers from oven. Spoon on any of the remaining couscous mixture. Top with the yogurt sauce, and any extra herbs.

The sauce is also delicious on some whole grain toasted baguette, which I served with our meal.

24 comments

  1. megan from passportsandpancakes.com on said:

    these look delicious! i wish i was having these for lunch today… and i completely agree, i use my food processor most of the time. it has changed the way i cook for sure.

  2. Christina from delecasa.wordpress.com on said:

    I like the wrinkles on the red pepper (or ‘capsicum’ as we call it).

  3. Elizabeth from greensandseeds.com on said:

    Yes! I got a food processor a few short years ago, but now I can’t imagine living without it. Just today I was feeling guilty, too, about posting too many recipes using it.

  4. Nicole from eatthispoem.com on said:

    I immediately thought of Tender when I saw these pictures. I’ve had Nigel’s recipe on my list to make, so hopefully I’ll try it this weekend.

  5. Stephanie on said:

    Some chickpeas and a little cumin added to this would add a little extra protein. Looks amazing!

  6. See once again, we’re thinking alike – I just posted a stuffed peppers recipe this morning. haha I love all of the color in your photos, these look delicious! As usual your photos are just plain incredible!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I know I saw that! Yours look delicious :)

  7. Beautiful convergence of flavors, & as always, I love your photos.

  8. Kelsey from happyolks.com on said:

    Couldn’t agree more about Tender.

  9. Kathryn from londonbakes.com on said:

    Tender is one of my favourites too and such an inspiration (just like your blog).

  10. Courtney Jones from thefigtree.blogspot.com on said:

    I’m in love with this recipe! Yum! I have to try it this week. So many delicious things in one lovely little pepper. Thanks for sharing! :)
    ps. Have a wonderful long weekend! xo

  11. süsk from suskandbanoo.com on said:

    Oh, my! I’ve somehow stumbled over your blog while trying to convert 4.5oz of cashews into grams (us silly Europeans), and HOLYCRIPES this is like byond food porn- all surrounded with a comfortable amount of white space and splendid photos. Design+food+eating food? Yesplease!

    In other words? I’m in heaven. And totally bookmarking now. God, yum! Thanks! For existing! Too many exclamations! Eye dart.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thanks! This might be the best comment I’ve received yet :)

  12. Bre on said:

    I am totally making these this week. I might add some toasted walnuts and cheese…mmmm I’m hungry already!

  13. Jess from inquiringchef.com on said:

    Yum – herbed yogurt! Trader Joe’s makes this lovely grain mix with couscous that I’ve been searching for inspiration to use. This is it!

  14. Jess from cooksmarts.com on said:

    I just stumbled across your website via JustB and it’s been so fun to explore. The photography is beautiful and so is the design. I’m definitely going to be trying this recipe. I love Israeli couscous!

  15. Noelle on said:

    Delish! I made this for dinner last night using regular couscous as I couldn’t find Israeli at the last minute and scaled it up a bit to feed 6. Really paprika forward (yum) and easy to throw together. Thanks!

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  20. I am a big fan of quinoa stuffed peppers so seeing this recipe brings me alot of joy! Really beautiful pictures!

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  22. Elizabeth on said:

    I made this tonight, in one yellow pepper and three Anaheim peppers (which I’d grown in my yard), and it was delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

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