Moroccan Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

Moroccan Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

The stuffing mixture for these tasty baked peppers is a combination of couscous, raisins, Moroccan-inspired herbs and spices, and toasted slivered almonds. The almonds add a nutty flavor and a lovely contrasting crunch to the soft peppers and fluffy couscous.

The peppers can easily be stuffed in advance — they’ll sit happily in the fridge for a good few hours or even overnight, allowing all the flavors to mingle, until you’re ready to cook. Just bring them out to come to room temperature while you’re preheating the oven. They’re a great make-ahead dish for dinner parties, family get-togethers, and holiday meals, or when you’re feeding a crowd (just double or triple the recipe).

They can be served hot, straight from the oven, or eaten at room temperature, making them perfect for picnics, barbecues, and al fresco dining. The stuffed peppers can either be served individually as an appetizer, as part of a selection of other dishes meze-style, or as a side dish to accompany fish, seafood, or chicken (which is how we usually enjoy them).

You can choose to use either red, orange or yellow peppers (or a mix of all three colors, which looks especially appetizing). Toasted pistachios or pine nuts can be added instead of almonds, and chopped dried apricots or dates make delicious alternatives to raisins.

Moroccan Couscous-Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4
Roasted whole red peppers stuffed with a Moroccan-spiced couscous studded with raisins and toasted almonds.
4 red peppers
1 cup quick-cooking couscous
⅓ cup raisins
1¼ cups boiling chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 teaspoons extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic — minced
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ red onion — finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
PREHEAT the oven to 400°F/200°F. CUT the tops off each pepper (and reserve them) and remove the membrane and seeds. MIX the couscous with the raisins in a bowl and pour over the boiling stock. COVER with a dish towel, plate or plastic wrap to seal in the steam and let sit for 5 minutes. HEAT a frying pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the almonds until golden brown all over, stirring regularly. PLACE 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, salt and pepper in a jar with a screw-top lid and shake to mix. FLUFF the couscous with a fork to separate the grains and stir through the red onion, toasted almonds and parsley. POUR over the dressing and toss together until well combined. SPOON equal amounts of the couscous stuffing into each pepper. PLACE the stuffed peppers, standing upright, side by side in a lightly greased baking dish. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of olive oil over each pepper, and place the tops back on. BAKE for 40 minutes.