Last night’s dinner was a cooperative effort: D. chopped the veggies, E. opened cans and boxes, and I threw everything together on the stove. As a result, this old favorite of ours came together in record time, about 20 minutes from start to finish. While it was cooking, I threw together a salad to complete the meal.
The recipe for Vegetable Couscous is straight out of Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin, except that I’ve eliminated the oil and butter she uses to sauté the onion and to cook the couscous. You don’t need either, in my opinion. In a good skillet, either non-stick coated or well-seasoned, you can cook the onions over medium-high heat with a tablespoon or two of water and achieve the same results without added fat. And there’s absolutely no reason to add fat to couscous; this quick-cooking pasta will come out fluffy and moist if you use the correct amount of boiling water and just take it off the heat so that it doesn’t dry out.
For those of you who, like me, are cutting refined foods out of your diet, please feel free to serve this over a whole grain such as millet, quinoa, or brown rice. I had some leftover rice in the fridge, so that’s how I ate mine. My daughter, AKA the “Pastavore,” devoured hers with the couscous. I don’t mind her having a little refined food every now and then, as long as she’s getting plenty of veggies along with it.
Besides being tasty and quick, this recipe is dear to me for sentimental reasons: it was one of the first dishes D. cooked for me when we were dating. I was so impressed with a guy who could cook vegan! Of course, that was before we moved in together and I chased him out of the kitchen. Well, most of the time. I still let him do the chopping and washing up!