Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Marnina loves to prepare stuffed foods.  If you haven’t seen the pumpkin we stuffed, or read about the stuffed Zuccanoes, then hopefully you will now understand Marnina’s love for stuffing.  For Shabbat dinner last week, we made Moroccan hamburgers, and stuffed tomatoes seemed like a suitable side dish.  We even found a Moroccan-inspired recipe that uses couscous, a grain staple commonly found in Morocco, as the base of the stuffing.  And on the topic of Morocco, Marnina and I are thinking of traveling there during the summer (any Morocco travel-related suggestions??).  Wherever we go, we will definitely report back about the cuisines that we encounter.

Depending on your food sensitivities, the stuffed tomato recipe is perfectly IBD-friendly.  Some IBDers avoid tomato because of its acidity, but in reality, tomatoes are relatively alkaline when compared to other fruits.  And if you are mildly sensitive to tomatoes, you can easily peel the tomato after it is baked, which reduces the acidity levels (much of the acidity is found in the skin of the fruit).  Also, couscous is relatively low in fiber when compared to other grains, meaning it is IBD-friendly for Marnina.  In this recipe, the couscous is mixed with tomato pulp, parsley, mint, lemon, and olive oil, which closely resembles a tabbouleh.  However, traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur, a high-fiber whole grain that is not suitable for those on a low-fiber diet. When Marnina first tasted the couscous mixture we created she was so excited because after being diagnosed with Crohn’s tabbouleh was a food that she avoided. She immediately started referring to our new dish as “Marnina-friendly” tabbouleh. We may even make the couscous without the tomatoes in the future…

The stuffed tomatoes were absolutely delicious.  The fresh herbs make all the difference, and the couscous gains a lot of flavor when it absorbs the tomato juices.

Nutritionally, couscous is a grain that is comparable to pasta or rice. It is made of semolina wheat that’s moistened and then formed into tiny grain shapes.  It is a staple food of some regions of the world.  It is one of the healthiest grain-based products.  Lower glycemic load than pasta and is also known to have superior vitamin and mineral content over pasta [1][2].

You can be sure we will be blogging about more stuffed foods in the future – Marnina has been eyeing portabella mushrooms lately…..

[1] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5699/2

[2] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5810/2

Pictures and recipe below:

Sauteing the onions

Adding the tomato guts to the sauteed onions

Adding the chopped parsley... Have we mentioned that we LOVE cooking with fresh herbs?

Mixing the tomato mixture with the couscus

The tomatoes have been stuffed and are ready to go in the oven!

The finished product! In case you were wondering...it was DELICIOUS

Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients:

150g couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt
150ml warm water
3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 large tomatoes
1 onion finely chopped
a teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons mixed herbs
a bunch each of fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

Prepare couscous as above using 1 tablespoon of the oil.

Remove the top of each tomato and save. Use a large spoon to scoop out seeds and pulp. Set aside. In a heavy based fry pan, heat the remaining oil and stir in the onion. Fry until it softens, then stir in the tomato pulp and sugar. Add the mixed herbs and cook until the mixture forms a thick sauce, Season as required with salt and pepper.

Add the tomato mixture to the couscous, mix well. Add the fresh herbs and preserved lemon and combine. Spoon the couscous mixture into tomato cases and top with reserved lids. Place the stuffed tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil over. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Serve immediately while hot or at set aside and serve at room temperature.

Recipe taken from http://www.winosandfoodies.com/2008/08/mad-about-morocco.html

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