This recipe is a bit more involved than others, but don’t let that deter you… it’s fabulously delicious and healthy!
Raisins are a staple in Moroccan dishes; but, unfortunately, they are not low-FODMAP friendly as they are high in fructans (or oligosaccharides, the ‘O’ in FODMAP). Just two tablespoons contain levels of sugar that will trigger IBS symptoms. But grapes are OK!! So I decided to roast grapes to add to my Moroccan dish! Preheat oven to 275°F. After rinsing 2C of grapes and patting them dry with paper towel, toss them in a bowl with 2T olive oil, 1T balsamic vinegar and 1/2t vanilla. Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the grapes out. Let roast in the oven for 2-3hrs… they should look very wrinkled and dark red/ brown.
I’ve learned that spice blends are very much based on personal preference. That being said, you have to work within the flavour palate of the cuisine. Moroccan is a wonderful balance of sweet flavours in savory, spicy food. So use spices that you would add to sweet baking and mix them with sharp, hot, savory spices. The mix I personally love is: 1/2t cinnamon, 1/4t cloves, 1/8t nutmeg, 1t ginger, 2t orange zest, 1t cumin, 1/2t coriander, 1t cayenne, 1t salt, 1t pepper. Don’t be afraid to add, subtract, substitute or adjust the ratios. So long as you keep in mind the balance of sweet, fruity, spicy, savory, you will probably end up with a Moroccan spice mix. Use fresh and/or freshly grated spices whenever possible for maximum flavour.
Rice always seems like a daunting task to me because it’s not something I can monitor and control: you throw everything into a pot and hope it turns out ok. I think I’ve got my ratios and timing down, so if you follow this you should be ok. Add 1.5T of spice mix to 1.5C water and bring to a boil in a medium pot with lid on. While the water is heating, rinse 1C thai jasmine rice by measuring it into a fine mesh colander and running cool water through it for a couple minutes. Make sure to shake out as much excess water as possible. The moment the water boils, turn the heat to the lowest setting. Add the rice, quick stir, then put the lid back on as soon as possible. Leave it on the stove until all the water is absorbed, should be about 20 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and stir in 1T butter. Leave the lid off.
For the meat: heat 1T oil in a frying pan. Add 1lb of 90% lean ground beef and the rest of the spice mix. Fry until just cooked… if you cook it too long, it will dry out as you bake it in the next step. Mix the beef into the pot of rice, reserving 2T of the rice for the next step.
In large quantities, pine nuts can also trigger IBS because of their Oligosaccharide content. To ensure happy tummies, only use 15 nuts per person. To compensate for the low nut content, a great substitute for the nut texture is crisped, fried rice. In the frying pan you just emptied, melt 1/2T butter on medium heat. Add pine nuts, plus 2T of your cooked rice. Lightly salt and pepper. Stir constantly until nuts and rice turn a rich golden brown. Add to rice and beef mixture.
UPDATE (10/17): according to the latest research from Monash university, pine nuts are no longer considered to have FODMAP levels high enough to trigger IBS symptoms, so use as many as you would like in this recipe!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the top out of the red peppers and remove any seeds and pith from inside. Dice 2 green onions (green part only) and/or several sprigs of parsley. Mix gently into the rice/beef mixture, along with the roasted grapes. Place peppers on baking tray and fill with your rice mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the pepper is soft. Note: This final step will be a lot easier if you take the time at the market to look for peppers with even bottoms that will stand level on a baking tray.
Moroccan Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Grapes
- 4 whole Red bell peppers
- 2 bunches green onion green tops only
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lbs 90% lean ground beef
- 2 cups fresh red grapes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 orange zest finely grated
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Toss grapes with vinegar, vanilla and 2T oil
Spread on sheet and roast at 275°F for 2hrs
Combine cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, orange zest, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper
Bring 1.5C water to boil with 1.5T spice mix
Reduce heat to low, stir in rice, let sit for 20 minutes with lid on
Fry ground beef with remainder of oil and spice mix until just cooked, then mix into rice
Fry pine nuts + 2T cooked rice in butter until brown, add to remainder of rice
chop green onion and parsley, gently combine with roasted grapes and rice
cut out top of pepper and remove seeds and pith
stuff peppers full with rice mix
bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, or until peppers are soft