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!
It’s hard to believe that 16 years have gone by since I posted this recipe. The little girl who helped me in the kitchen is now a college graduate cooking in her own kitchen. Just this week she made this recipe, putting her spin on it (almonds) and she took the photos that appear here now. The recipe is a true classic and, unlike us people, hasn’t aged at all.
Originally posted here.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium zucchini cut into ½-inch cubes
- 15 ounces cooked chickpeas (1 can) rinsed and drained
- 16 ounces canned tomatoes finely chopped, with their juice
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water, with broth powder added after it boils
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup couscous
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds toasted (optional)
- Heat the 2 tbsp. water in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne and cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.
- Stir in the zucchini, chick-peas, tomatoes, and raisins. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in toasted almonds, if you're using them. Add salt to taste.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous. Bring the vegetable stock or water to a boil and stir in the salt and the couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes, or for up to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
- Serve the couscous with the vegetable mixture mounded in the center.
Nutritional info is approximate.