Peppers are very in season and SO colorful and delicious right now. Their beautiful, bright colors inspired our post this week influenced by North African cuisine. This stuffed pepper recipe will be a welcomed change to your palate with the variety of exciting flavors and unique uses for different ingredients. Take tea for example - for a twist we used tea in a completely new way. Interested? Read on!
Tea in this recipe was not used as a warming beverage but a flavorful cooking liquid for our starch ingredient, couscous. Using a fresh mint and green tea cooking liquid provided a unique twist and a depth of flavor to the final recipe that only tea can provide. Typically cooked in water or broth, couscous (and other grains) can end up bland and needing a lot of flavor additives after cooking. So if tea as a cooking liquid is interesting to you than try experimenting with different cooked grains and your favorite teas. We find savory teas such as green, mint, chai, and black tea varieties to work well as substitutes for water or vegetable stock when preparing cooked grains. Just remember that if using in place of vegetable stock you'll likely need to add extra salt to the recipe. Has tea in foods sparked your creative side? We sure hope so! If it hasn't than you'll just have to try this recipe to understand.
Moroccan Stuffed Peppers with Tunisian Harissa Yogurt Sauce
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes (includes cooking time)
Mint & Honey Green Tea
2 Tbsp loose green tea (we used gunpowder green tea)
20 large mint leaves
2 Tbsp honey (we used raw creamed honey)
3 cups hot water
1. 5 cups dried whole wheat couscous
1.5 cups prepared mint & honey green tea
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp sea salt
5-6 medium-large bell peppers
Harissa Yogurt Sauce
1 medium roasted red bell pepper with skin removed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1" of a fresh red jalapeno (more if you prefer a spicier sauce)
1.5 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/4 tsp ground cumin)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a tea pot or glass container with a tea strainer add boiling water and honey and steep green tea and mint leaves for 5 minutes. Remove tea and mint leaves and set warm tea aside. To make the couscous, add 1.5 cups mint & honey green tea, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp sea salt to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add dried couscous to the hot liquid, and cover with a lid. Allow couscous to absorb tea for ~15 minutes then remove lid and fluff with a fork. Combine chick peas with 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, and 1/4 tsp paprika in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add cooked couscous, dried apricots, slivered almonds, spiced chick peas, parsley, and apple cider vinegar to a large bowl and stir to combine. Set prepared couscous filling to the side.
Wash peppers and carefully cut the top ~1" off of each making sure to cut evenly all the way around the pepper as this will serve as your lid while cooking. Scoop the insides of the peppers clean removing ribs and seeds. Fill each pepper to the top with couscous filling, cover with its "lid", and place snugly in an oven proof pan. Pour the remainder of the mint and honey green tea in the bottom of the pan with the peppers to keep them moist while cooking and cook at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until peppers are soft.
While the peppers are cooking, combine coriander, fennel, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small pan and lightly toast on the stove top until fragrant, ~2 minutes. Add roasted red pepper, garlic, olive oil, red jalapeno, paprika, toasted spices, sea salt, water, and yogurt to a blender or food processor and mix on high until harissa sauce is a smooth consistency.
Once peppers are done cooking, serve with a side of harissa yogurt sauce. Any leftover peppers will stay fresh in the fridge for ~3-5 days in an air tight container. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Harissa sauce will stay fresh in an air tight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
If you're wondering, yes - this recipe does taste just as colorful as it looks! The Moroccan couscous salad is sweet and savory from the honey tea broth and perfectly balanced with spicy chickpeas, crunchy almonds, and chewy apricots. The peppers are tangy and cooked to an ideal texture and the Tunisian harissa yogurt sauce tops everything off with fiery yet rich goodness. And this recipe is just beyond beautiful. We hope you love it just as much as we do and enjoy a new twist with tea in your kitchen.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.