Tag Archives: couscous

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Couscous

14 Jul

You know it’s a heat wave when the temperature is in the high 80s and it’s a “cool” day. Yuck!  When it’s this hot outside, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or stove. It’s the perfect time to grill! Grilling can take only a few minutes and doesn’t heat up the whole house. Plus, then I can get my husband to do most of the work 🙂

Today I’m sharing a recipe for my new favorite grilled dish. Adapted from a recipe by the grilling guru, Bobby Flay, it’s summer vegetables; marinated in a a delicious combination of balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, EVOO, and garlic, grilled; and tossed with couscous and fresh herbs. Super easy and so tasty!

I love the adaptability of this recipe. The original recipe calls for toasted Israeli couscous, which is delicious, but after running out of that rather expensive ingredient, I’ve been using regular whole wheat couscous and it works just as well. You can also use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I love grilled asparagus in it, but after it jumped in price, I was OK with leaving it out. Last night when I made this recipe again, I discovered that my cherry tomatoes had gone bad. I was dismayed because they add a lot of brightness to the dish. But I had some extra carrots on hand, so I threw them in, and they gave the dish a really nice sweetness. So really no matter what substitutions you need to make, you can’t go wrong. Grilled veggies are just that good 🙂

It’s delicious served warm, or at room temperature. Feel free to serve as a side salad, or like I do, as a main dish with some yummy grilled bread.

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Couscous

(adapted from recipe by Bobby Flay)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 green zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise
  • 4 carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 lb couscous

Preparation:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and garlic. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 the marinade over the vegetables and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium heat. Prepare the couscous as directed on package.
  • Remove the vegetables from the marinade and grill the vegetables until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on the size of the veggies).
  • Cut the grilled vegetables into 1/2 inch pieces. Add them to the prepared couscous and herbs and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 main dish servings.

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Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto

26 Feb

I’ve found that if you cook only vegetarian food, it’s sometimes easy to get stuck in the rut of always cooking pasta, typically with Italian flavors. Don’t get me wrong– Giada de Laurentiis is my fave (if you couldn’t tell from many of the other recipes I’ve posted)! But to me, it’s really  important to keep things interesting and try new recipes with unexpected flavor combinations.

Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto certainly fits the bill, and thus, has become a “regular” in my household. It’s full of healthy vegetables, and the Moroccan flavors are so interesting. I especially like the contrast of the savory pesto and tomatoes, paired with the sweetness of cinnamon and raisins.

By the way, couscous is technically a type of pasta, and yes, I was just saying one shouldn’t “get stuck in the rut of always cooking pasta.” But just as I consider peppers to be vegetables rather than fruits, I consider couscous closer to rice than pasta. Whatever the case, this is definitely not your typical Italian pasta dish!

Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto

Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto (adapted from recipe by Food Network Magazine)

Ingredients:

For the Pesto-

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (stems reserved for couscous)
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts (or almonds, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

For the Couscous-

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous

Preparation:

  • Heat a wide heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp salt; cook until butter begins to brown. Add the onion. Add about 5 reserved parsley stems and cinnamon to the pot. Cook, stirring occassionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, carrots, zucchini, raisins, 1 tsp salt, and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the parsley stems.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous and pesto. Cook the couscous as the label directs. Add the remaining 1 tbsp butter, season with salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork.
  • For the pesto, Combine the cilantro, parsley leaves, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt; process until smooth.
  • To serve, top the couscous with the vegetables and pesto.

Makes 2-3 servings.