Spiced couscous tomatoes

    25 min

    Choose ripe, well-flavoured tomatoes for this dish. Hollowed out, they make the perfect container for a spicy aubergine, dried apricot and nut couscous. The vitamin C-rich juices are squeezed out of the scooped-out tomato flesh and seeds, and whisked with a little harissa paste to make a tangy dressing. Serve with sesame breadsticks.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 8 large beefsteak tomatoes, about 170g (6 oz) each
    • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 55g (2 oz) flaked almonds
    • 1 small aubergine, about 170g (6 oz), cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • ½ tsp ground cumin
    • pinch of ground cinnamon
    • 240ml (8 fl oz) boiling vegetable stock
    • 125g (4½ oz) couscous
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 55 g (2 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
    • 1 tsp harissa paste
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:25min 

    1. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides using a teaspoon. Place the hollowed-out tomatoes and cut-off tops on one side. Put the seeds and scooped-out flesh in a sieve set over a small jug or bowl and press with the back of a spoon to extract the juices; you will need about 4 tbsp. Leave the jug of juice on one side and discard the seeds and flesh.
    2. Sprinkle a little salt over the insides of the hollowed-out tomatoes. Place them upside-down on a plate covered with kitchen paper and leave to drain while making the filling.
    3. Heat ½ tbsp of the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the flaked almonds and cook over a low heat for 2–3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a draining spoon and set aside.
    4. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the saucepan. Stir in the aubergine and cook for 5 minutes, turning frequently, until browned and tender. Stir in the coriander, cumin and cinnamon, and cook for a few more seconds, stirring continuously.
    5. Pour in the stock and bring to a rapid boil, then add the couscous in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
    6. Uncover the pan, return to a low heat and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring with a fork to separate the couscous grains and fluff them up. Stir in the toasted almonds, mint and dried apricots.
    7. Add the harissa paste to the reserved tomato juices and stir to mix, then pour over the couscous. Season with pepper and mix well. Spoon the couscous mixture into the tomatoes, replace the tops and serve.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E. Good source of potassium. Useful source of calcium, copper, folate, iron, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, zinc.

    Another idea

    Dried peaches and hazelnuts or pine nuts can be used in place of the dried apricots and almonds.

    Plus points

    The presence of vitamin C in a dish – here provided by the tomatoes – improves the body's absorption of iron from grain products such as couscous and from dried apricots. * Couscous is low in fat and high in starchy carbohydrates and fibre. It has a moderate score on the Glycaemic Index, which means that it is digested and absorbed relatively slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream. This helps to keep blood sugar levels steady.

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