Tag Archives: couscous

Israeli Couscous “Risotto” Primavera

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March has officially become one of the busiest months for me! I have something happening every single weekend this month. Let me prove it (because I know you’re all dying to know ;)…):

  • March 2 – We celebrated our friends birthday last weekend, and had a night on the town. It was so great to catch up with everyone!
  • March 9 – Attending a day conference for work (hooray developing skills!) and then in the evening I get to see Diana from Veggie Next Door!! She and her fiance (squee!) are visiting their friends in Ann Arbor and I’m so excited to see her again, and hopefully make some new friends!
  • March 16 – I’ll be in the Chi for St. Patty’s weekend to visit the seester and my friends out there. Taking a nice long weekend from work to just kick back and have fun.
  • March 23 – SHOOTING MY FIRST WEDDING! Can I even begin to tell you how excited I am to be doing this? One of my best friends and I have been asked to photograph the wedding of someone she knows, and she and I are over the moon about it. I’ve also already planned to assist another one of my amazing photographer friends with weddings she’s doing this spring and summer. Yay! It will be amazing experience and hopefully slowly get my feet into the whole biz ;)
  • March 30 – GARBAGE! I have wanted to see Garbage live since I was in high school! Yes, I’m almost 30 and yes my friends and I will likely be the oldest people there. But then again, maybe we won’t. I’m sure there are still 30+-year-olds living in their 14-year-old bodies who are as excited as I am ;)

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Another happy news announcement: I’m registered for my first 5K! I’m doing the Color Run in Ypsilanti May 11 so I’ve been hitting the gym to run until I reach the 3.1 mile mark. I can’t wait for it to get warm outside so I can do some running outdoors. I think anyone can agree that running outdoors > running on a treadmill indoors.

So yeah, March is going to go by fast I’m sure, and there’s so much more exciting stuff happening almost every weekend after, but I’m ready for all the fun! Plus I’ll get to cross off a handful of things on that lovely list I have going ;)

So to celebrate and live in the fun and also help prep my meals for the week, I decided to make risotto. Since it’s one of my favorite foods, it had to be done. The biggest difference this time was I used Israeli couscous instead of Arborio rice. I just used more couscous, and less stock and added a whole lotta veggies. In the end it tasted like the real deal but wasn’t as heavy. The great thing about risotto is you can add whatever you want to it and it probably won’t taste bad. For this one, I used carrot, zucchini, baby Bellas and asparagus spears. I could see all kinds of veggies going into this though: leeks, artichokes, roasted eggplant, peas, peppers.. have fun with it!

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Hashtag dopeshow anyone?

Yeah, I said it.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Israeli Couscous “Risotto” Primavera
 
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Tastes just like classic risotto primavera, but lighter and creamier!
Author:
Recipe type: Risotto-ish, vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian-ish, vegetarian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 oz. frozen cut asparagus, thawed
  • 1¼ cup Israeli (pearled) couscous
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a large pan over medium high heat until melted.
  2. Add the chopped zucchini, carrot and sliced mushrooms and cook until tender and softened, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add 3 cups vegetable stock to a saucepan and keep warm over low to medium heat.
  4. When the vegetables are done, remove from pan, set on plate and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, add the remaining oil and butter.
  6. Add the couscous and cook 2 minutes or until lightly toasted
  7. Add the white wine and cook 1-2 minutes or until alcohol is cooked out.
  8. Next add stock about ½ cup (or ladle) at a time, stir until absorbed. When the couscous has absorbed some of the stock, add another ½ cup.
  9. After 2 cups of stock have been added, pour the cooked vegetables back to the pan with the couscous. Continue ladling ½ cup until all the stock is gone.
  10. Add the thawed cut asparagus, cheese, salt and pepper and stir until all combined and the couscous is cooked.

Storms and Sunshine

 

I’m alive!

Well, sort of. I have been so freaking busy with work it’s ridiculous. I started a lead role (hooray!) at work, but I have been so busy (phew :-[) but I love it (hooray!). REB has been busy with work too being the big shot network admin guy on campus and that has meant we've either come home from work super late, or we've had other things going on after work.

I hate having off weeks with the hubs. We try to do a date night once a week, but it doesn't always happen. Truth be told, one of my favorite things is being able to just sit and have a meal with him. At least we still work out together at night! Hooray weights! Hooray cardio! Hooray hooray!

Anyway most of our dinners have been quick things like veggie burgers on salad, savory stuffed sweet potatoes (one guess who those were for :)), or fending for ourselves in general. Awful. I should be a good Indian wife and have dinner on the table for my man every night! [pause for jokes]. OK I take that back. I did make baked samosas a few nights ago. But really, my sister made the filling and had brought me the extras. I merely put it into poked puff pastry and baked it off. HEY. That took time! And they were tasty.

Where was I? Oh yeah. We’ve been so busy that I was determined to cook my man (and me!) a meal that would be satisfying and not too heavy.

Enter sunshine and summer in a bowl.

Or in layman’s terms: Caprese Israeli couscous with heirloom tomatoes.

It’s seriously the one thing I needed after these past few weeks! And let’s not forget how depressing the weather has been. If it isn’t 90 or 100 degrees outside, it’s storming. I decided to change all that today. It was the first night we both got home at a reasonable time, I had enough time to replenish our fridge and pantry thanks to Trader Joes, and I even had enough time to be one of those people who buys flowers at the store “just because.”

I also managed to pick up those little beauties you see in the bottom right. Just call me super woman. I told REB I wanted to make something fresh and light for dinner and that’s exactly what I did. Nothing screams fresh to me more than heirloom tomatoes, a light vinaigrette and a grain I haven’t had in ages.

I expressed interest in making couscous, but also wanted caprese. BOOM. This was born.
What we ended up with was a caprese couscous with a deconstructed pesto….lemon…dressing…thing. It was good. And you should make it. Because I said so.

Did I mention I started a lead role and I’m now more assertive than ever?

No? Oh Ok. I started lead role at work! Hooray!

Caprese Israeli Couscous
 
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Author:
Recipe type: entree, side dish, vegetarian, heirloom tomatoes, couscous, pearled couscous, basil, pine nuts
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • COUSCOUS:
  • 1⅓ cups Dry Israeli (pearled) couscous
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup mini heirloom tomatoes, halved, quartered, whatever
  • 4 ounces (1/2 container) bocconcini (baby) mozzarella, halved
  • 10 whole basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • DRESSING:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
Instructions
  1. Start by bringing the water to a boil.
  2. In a separate pot or sauce pan add the couscous and olive oil and cook over medium heat until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the water is boiling, slowly add it to the couscous.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for 12 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. While the couscous is simmering away, wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. The small ones you can leave whole. Set aside. Do the same with the mozzarella. Stack the basil, roll tightly and slice thinly to create ribbons.
  6. In a small dry pan, add the pine nuts and cook over low heat until toasted. Remove from heat. Keep your eye on them so they don’t burn!
  7. Once the couscous is cooked, transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and toss lightly. The heat from the couscous should melt the mozzarella a little.
  8. For the dressing, combine balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over couscous, add the tablespoon of olive oil, give it one good toss. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top and enjoy!

 

The best thing is having leftover to take to work tomorrow. I think once I get into the groove of things, I’ll be back to my old self. At least I have the weekend to look forward to. I hope to have some culinary adventures! Stay tuned :)

Do you ever get into cooking slumps and do “fend-for-yourself” nights?

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Veggies and Tempeh


I don’t know about any of you, but I’m one of those gals who likes the pearled, or Israeli, couscous and not the superfine kind. I think the latter is a little too gritty but maybe I’ve never had it made correctly.  This recipe had roasted veggies, spices, chickpeas and tempeh. Proteinalicious!

Before this recipe, I had never made couscous before. I always see it made on the cooking shows I watch, but I’ve never actually been “brave” enough to make it on my own. Maybe the idea of fluffing it with my fork just scared me, who knows. Luckily I have a husband who likes having culinary adventures and let’s me tag along for the ride.

The great thing about this recipe is that it had a lot of Indian spices in it! And by a lot, I mean two. Ha. It had garam masala and turmeric. I always keep a batch of garam masala in my kitchen, but sometimes I act like my mom and make it fresh during the cooking process.

Here’s my recipe for it if you’ve never made it and want to sometime! Turmeric is another great spice. I don’t think it actually tastes like anything, but it does make your dishes turn a beautiful yellow color and stains your nails and fingertips!


I guess these two spices just remind me of home and my mom’s kitchen, so I was really excited to find a non-Indian recipe that also used them! I have to say, this dish turned out fantastic. It was a little time consuming but it turned out pretty great. REB was responsible for cooking the tempeh so I just got the instructions/process from him but didn’t take any pics :(

The original recipe was just the Israeli couscous with the grilled veggies, but we don’t have a grill and didn’t feel like pulling out the stove-top grill. So we roasted our veggies and since there really wasn’t a ton of protein in the dish, we decided to make tempeh to top it off. REB made the tempeh with an orange glaze, which I know sounds weird with the spiced couscous, but it actually went together so nicely. The sweetness paired well with the spice. They were pretty happy together. And I was too ;)

Israeli Couscous recipe adapted from Three Many Cooks
Orange glazed tempeh adapted from 101 Cookbooks

For the tempeh:
•4 oz. Soy Tempeh (we used half a block of this Light Life Tempeh brand), cut into thin triangles or 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking)
•1/2 cup fresh mandarin juice or orange juice (about 4-5 mandarins)
•1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
•1 teaspoon lite soy sauce
•3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
•1 teaspoon honey (use maple syrup instead to make this dish vegan!)
•1 teaspoon ground coriander

For the couscous:
•2 cups Israeli (pearled) couscous
•1 small zucchini cut julienne then cut in thirds to make small strips
•1 red bell pepper cut julienne then cut in half to make small strips
•1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
•1/2 cup chopped onion
•1 teaspoon minced garlic
•3 teaspoons garam masala (I know that sounds like a lot, but this will make it good and spicy)
•1 teaspoon turmeric
•3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
•1 cup water
•S&P to taste
•1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus some extra for garnish
•2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for roasting vegetables

Start by preheating your oven to 400°F. Add the bell pepper and zucchini in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes checking on them halfway and tossing again.

Meanwhile in a large pot, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and let it get hot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Next add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two.  Then add the couscous and spices and stir to lightly toast the couscous, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and cup of water. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and let it simmer for another 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. It will be very thick!

While all that is happening, heat a separate skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the tempeh and cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Then add the liquid mixture and let it simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. It will turn into a glaze.

When the couscous is finished, add in the chickpeas, roasted vegetables, halved tomatoes and cilantro. Top with tempeh, garnish with cilantro and serve!

This made so much! I think we easily could have served 6-8 people. You could definitely feed more if you were serving it as a side dish. This can also be made vegan. Actually I think without the tempeh, it already is vegan. Either way, this is one dish I don’t mind having a lot leftovers!

Have any of you made couscous before?
Do you prefer the traditional fine couscous, or this pearled kind?

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