Pearled Couscous Stuffed Squash Boats

Wow, just wow! I’ve never been a big fan of stuffed food items, but after looking at my two lovely squashes for 3 days, I knew I had to make this savory, flavor-bursting recipe. The combination of the slightly crunchy zucchini vessel with the creaminess of the fun-to-eat pearled couscous is terrific. I decided to go Mediterranean flavors with this, but you can certainly turn it into a lovely Italian or curry dish!

Serves: 2 as entree, 4 as appetizer or side

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 same-size zucchinis
  • 1 8 oz. pkg. plain or multi-grain tempeh*
  • 1 cup pearled couscous
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers from the jar (no oil)
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale  (spinach will work)
  • 3-5 oz. Violife feta cheese
  • 1 Tbls. oregano
  • 2 Tbls. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley for garnish

*If tempeh isn’t your thing, use eggplant pieces, and cook it the same way.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise to get 4 ‘boats’. Using a small pairing knife and fork, carefully hollow out each zucchini boat, making sure to leave at least 1/4″ thickness all around. Retain the squash insides to make these fritters!
  3. Lightly spray oil each zucchini boat, then salt and pepper. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.
  4. Make pearled couscous according to package. This should only take 8-10 minutes.*
  5. Cut the tempeh lengthwise first into 1/2″ slices, then cut the other way until you end up with 1/4″ square (approx.) pieces.
  6. Heat a large pan to medium heat, add the diced onion and garlic, cooking until onion is translucent. Use splashes of water or broth to keep the onions from sticking. Add the tempeh squares and roasted red peppers. You can also toss in some of the red pepper water from the jar!
  7. Mix all pan ingredients together well, and saute for 6-8 minutes, or until you see some of the tempeh begin to brown. Add the kale or spinach (or both) now, and chopped kalamata olives, and let it cook down for another minute.
  8. Sprinkle all pan ingredients with oregano, and lemon juice. Mix again and turn off heat.
  9. Let’s build the boats! Carefully spoon several tablespoons of the pearl couscous into each zucchini boat. Then spoon the tempeh, kale, onion mix over that.
  10. When all boats are filled, pop the tray back into the oven for 12 more minutes.
  11. To finish it off, add the sliced or crumbled vegan feta and parsley, and voila!

*I use no, or low salt vegetable broth in place of water when cooking the couscous to get some flavor in the pasta.

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