Monday, June 27, 2016

Couscous Casserole


When I first moved out and was on my own, I bought a Simply Colorado Cookbook. It was an impulse buy at the checkout counter, and one of the first cookbooks I ever owned. I looked it up and they still sell it on Amazon, and I noticed the copyright date was 1992! That seems so long ago, now.

There was a recipe in that cookbook for Confetti Couscous Casserole that my husband and I really liked. The original had ricotta and cheddar cheese added, but I swapped those out and adapted the recipe to be plant-based. The result is just as good as the original that I remember from all those years ago.

Couscous Casserole

This recipe might seem a little long, but you just break it down into 4 steps so it's easily managed:
Make the tofu ricotta
Make the couscous
Saute the onions and pepper mixture
Assemble and bake the casserole

Tofu Ricotta Ingredients:

1/2 pound firm tofu, drained (this is half a block, reserve the other half for another use)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast (start with one, taste and adjust to your liking)

Tofu Ricotta Directions:

Crumble the tofu into a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix really well with a fork. You want to really mash up the tofu until it resembles ricotta cheese. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Couscous Casserole Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup couscous

1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup sweet red pepper, chopped

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped into raisin sized pieces
2 Tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground cumin

Optional: 1/2 cup vegan shredded cheddar cheese

Couscous Casserole Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x11 casserole dish with cooking spray.

Combine water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in couscous. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. You want the couscous to be tender and all of the liquid to be absorbed.

Coat a non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and sauté the onion, garlic, and pepper until the onions have turned translucent and the peppers have softened.

While the onions and pepper cook, you can start adding the other ingredients to the couscous. I had room in my saucepan, otherwise use a mixing bowl. Add the onion and peppers to the couscous and fold in the tofu ricotta. Spread the mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes. If you want, spread the vegan cheddar over the top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

For 8 servings. Nutritional information from

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 179 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 11%Vitamin C 51%
Calcium 9%Iron 20%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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