Saturday, April 26, 2008

Let's Talk Couscous, Baby

Can we talk about couscous for a second? (Whole wheat, of course.) It is one of my favorite foods in the world. It’s on my list of comfort foods.

Some nights (like tonight!), all I want are peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach sautéed in a little oil or just in cooking spray, sprinkled with a dash of balsamic vinegar and about a half-teaspoon of basil (or use 1 T of fresh basil if you’ve got it. Totally makes the meal). I throw in a few grape tomatoes at the end along with ¼ C of vegetable broth (you can use meat-based broth if you prefer) and 2 T of couscous, stir it up, and let it sit for five minutes. I know most couscous boxes say that ¼ to 1/3 cup is a serving, but seriously, that’s a LOT of couscous. Two tablespoons seems to be more than enough.

I want your couscous recipes! I especially like the ones that call for veggies so I can make it a meal. If you’ve got some, please share. Post them in a comment or send me an email.

Below is one of my favorite couscous recipes. It’s from the Weight Watchers site. I skip the raisins (gag me) and I often substitute carrots for the frozen peas. WW says it serves four, but I easily get six servings out of it.

I think we need to discuss brown rice soon, too. For a woman who hasn’t had her period in 15 months, I’m sure craving carbs this weekend. Hmm….. Could it be I’ll finally be a woman again soon? One can only hope.

Orange-Scented Couscous

1 1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup golden seedless raisins
3/4 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion(s), chopped
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) wedges
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 Tbsp slivered almonds
1 tsp orange zest, grated

In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, raisins, 1/2 tsp salt, the cumin, ginger, 1/8 tsp pepper and the cinnamon. Bring to a boil.
Add couscous and stir. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Sauté onion and garlic until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
Add zucchini and cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
Stir in peas, almonds and remaining salt and pepper. Heat to serving temperature, about 1 minute.
Transfer couscous to a bowl and fluff with fork. Add vegetables and orange zest. Toss to combine.

10 comments:

  1. I have way too many favorite couscous recipes. I love it. Even when it's plain. My 9 year old eats it with butter and honey. I love it with sea salt, olive oil & sundried tomatoes. A recipe the whole family enjoys is "dirty couscous". Just like dirty rice....only it's couscous. :)

    Dirty CousCous (WW CORE)

    1 lb extra lean ground beef (or veggie meat substitute crumbles)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 stalks celery, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    1 TBS chopped parsley
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
    ¼ tsp. red pepper
    ¼ tsp pepper
    1 tsp salt
    1 c wholewheat couscous
    1 (14.5 oz) can veggie broth
    1 c water

    In a large skillet, add beef and all veggies, cooking until beef is done and vegetables are tender. Add seasonings, stirring well. Add couscous, broth, and water, mixing well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cover, and cook 5 minutes.

    Serves 4-6

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Lynn,
    I bought my first container of couscous and am going to try a recipe. Love this blog! Thanks for checking out my blog. I am hoping I get my act together soon. Still spinning!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mmmmm,sounds yummy. Looks like I'll have to give couscous a try.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The orange scented couscous sounds heavenly! But here's my twist on all these wonderful grains and veggies that I love so much (and recipes I am dying to try!): I have been diagnosed with a small intestine/adhesion problem which is severely aggravated by fiber. At the present time I must keep my fiber grams down to 10 per day! I need HEALTHY recipes desperately that are low-fiber. How weird is that? Trust me - hard to find online! I lost 70 pounds a few years ago and am now seriously having trouble maintaining the loss because of this low fiber thing. Anyone have any suggestions???

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you all for your comments and recipes! I really appreciate it.

    Anonymous, I asked a doctor friend of mine about your question and here's what she said: "A diet that gets most of its calories from meat, fish or poultry protein (eggs too), from dairy and from lower fiber vegetables and fruits should be easy enough. Lists of low fiber veggies and fruits can be found on dietaryfiberfood.com Grains don't add much nutrtitionally and the husk of whole grains adds most of the fiber." Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I usually cook my couscous with a variety of mushrooms sauteed in a drop of olive oil and garlic. Then I throw in some veg broth and the couscous. You can also use a drop of white wine if you're inclined for some added flavor. It's kind of like a wild mushroom risotto, only with couscous instead of rice.

    ReplyDelete
  7. OK...I'll admit it. I have a box of Whole Wheat couscous in my cupboard and STILL haven't made anything with it! TO be perfectly honest, I didn't know what to do with it! So thanks for posting this! I'll definitely try a couple of these recipes! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aw, but the raisins are goooood in it! Very Mediterranean. They plump up from the cooking.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Cold Couscous Salad (serves one)

    1/4 cup whole wheat couscous
    1/4 low sodium chicken broth
    1 roma tomato seeded and chopped
    1/2 cup chopped english cucumber
    2 oz diced chicken breast
    1 tbsp finely diced red onion
    1/2 clove garlic minces
    1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    1 tsp olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    Prepare your couscous and let cool. Add all remaining ingredients, and moisten with red wine vinegar and olive oil. This is even better if you make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

    Comes to about 300 calories and 7 grams of fat.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lynn,

    I am so grateful for your website and your thoughts. I have written comments before. I am taken by the fact that you can eat 2T of couscous and not crave more! I am struggling still after all this time on WW with portion control and know that I eat when I am feeling stress( i.e.worry ) about things I can't predict or control! So...I am working on this via meditation and blogging on my own website that I do not have the will to make public yet and also trying to eat strictly within my points. The process is slow for me since last March on WW I have lost 20 pounds. The pound or two up occurs when my portions are not in check and my worry is getting the best of me. I will be 50 in one month and I woud like to be in a new set of numbers on the scale. Your blog is so helpful to me. Love your new photo; hard to believe you had to lose weight! Happy Mother's Day, joni

    ReplyDelete