The other day I was asked to provide a side dish at our local church for twenty people. I wondered what I could possibly cook that would give a nice burst of flavor but was good-natured enough to to sit around all day and have the option of being warmed up or not as the case might be. Couscous surely is the answer plus it's beyond easy to make. I cooked this up in about ten minutes after I rolled out of bed this morning and if you knew me better you would understand I'm up to very little until I've had a chance for the caffeine to fully kick in. I used wholewheat couscous which I think tastes just as good, if not better in fact than regular. A sprinkle of spices and the addition of dried fruit, nuts and veggies takes a staple carbohydrate into a joyful experience.
Couscous with Vegetables, Nuts and Spices.
The following has been pared down to feed 6 hungry people.
1 1/2 cups couscous (wholewheat or regular)
3 cups water
A drop of olive oil
Pinch of salt
A couple of tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 red pepper (diced)
1 yellow pepper (diced)
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4-6 tablespoons olive oil - (to taste)
salt and pepper
To cook the couscous bring the water and olive oil to a boil in a saucepan. When boiling add the couscous, place a lid on the pan and remove from heat. Leave for five minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute for about 7-9 minutes until translucent. Add the spices, stir well and allow to saute for another few minutes. Enjoy the aroma!
Place the couscous, onion mixture, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, almonds, parsley and peppers together in a large bowl.
To make the dressing combine all the ingredients in a jar, screw the lid on tight and shake it up well. Taste to check the seasonings, pour over the couscous and toss together. Taste, it may need an additional squeeze of lemon, or sprinkle of salt, pepper and parsley. Serve - when needed!