5 Ingredient Toasted Pearl Couscous

A tasty dish filled with veggies and done in 30 minutes using a whole grain that looks like little pearls. So cute.

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Sorry for those of you who received the teaser email last night with an incomplete post.  My butterfingers hit “Publish” instead of “Save”  and emails automatically went out (a bloggers nightmare) Ahh!  

Today I’m sharing a recipe using pearl couscous.  If you don’t know what this is, it is also known as Israeli couscous and are small balls of wheat or semolina flour.   They have a slightly chewy texture – and when toasted, like I do for this dish, they have a subtle nutty flavor.  It’s a nice alternative to rice or pasta.  It can be found near the rice in most grocery stores.  Or if you’re lucky, you can buy it from the bulk bins.  This dish can be used as a side dish or a light main dish (feel free to toss in beans or your protein of your choice) – perfect for all you Meatless Monday folks!

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Grape Tomatoes were on sale last week. $0.88 a pint!! That’s CRAZY! So, naturally, I went crazy and bought 4 pints of grape tomatoes. After inhaling two pints raw, I wanted to enjoy the others cooked. My favorite way to cook grape tomatoes is to roast them. It makes them even sweeter, and doesn’t require you to do much to them. I just plop some chopped garlic in the baking dish, sprinkle some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes and TADA!  EVEN SWEETER grape tomatoes. Yum.  This is also a great way to use grape tomatoes that are starting to wrinkle and not look so “salad fresh”.

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While your grape tomatoes are roasting, you can toast and cook the couscous.  Toasting really brings out a nutty flavor and is a small extra step that is totally worth it.  To toast the pearls, simply saute them with olive oil in a saucepan on low-medium heat, while stirring for about 5-10 minutes until the couscous is lightly browned. Then add your liquid and frozen vegetable of choice ( I threw in some frozen spinach) and simmer for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the roasted grape tomatoes and their juices to the cooked cousous. Then add a little water to the baking dish to deglaze it (which will get all the roasty deliciousness out) and add it to the cooked couscous and dinner’s ready!

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In 30 minutes and 5 ingredients (not including olive oil and salt pepper) you have a delicious vegetable filled side dish that is nutty and full of grape tomato sweetness.

 

Recipe: 5 Ingredient Toasted Pearl Couscous 20140519-065127.jpg

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a light main dish (this recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled…)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup Pearl Couscous (Israeli Couscous)
  • 1 1/4 cup of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (or frozen veggie of your choice)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a oven safe baking dish, toss grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes start to caramelize.
  2. Add the remaining oil to a medium saucepan.  Over low to medium heat, add the couscous and cook, stirring for about 5-10 minutes, until light golden brown.  Add the broth and frozen spinach and bring to a boil.  Immediately, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked grape tomatoes plus their juices to the cooked couscous. You may remove the garlic or smash up and add to the couscous (depending on how much garlic flavor you like) De-glaze the baking dish with a tablespoon or 2 of water and add to the couscous. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a sprinkle of cheese.

* Garbanzo or cannellini beans go really well with this dish if you are looking to serve as a main dish and want some extra protein. Just toss in after the couscous is done cooking.

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Want more quick veggie dishes? Click on the Vegetarian Link on the top menu or try one of my favorites below!

Vegetarian Orzo Parsley Salad Orzo Parsley Salad.jpgSpicy Avocado Egg SaladSpicy Avocado Egg Salad.jpgSpanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell PepperSpanish Tortilla.jpg

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Simple Sausage and Peppers

Are you ready to get your Italian on?

20140318-081627.jpgI’ve had this food blog for almost a year and I really haven’t shared many Italian recipes. For SHAME. But today I am fixing this with a simple, savory, meaty and veggie dish: My Simple Sausage and Peppers

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I like this recipe because it is easy, quick and delicious! And look how colorful it is! This was definitely one of my favorite dishes to photograph! Such a beauty!

20140313-223046.jpgBecause I usually cook for myself and a 6’4″ man with a super fast metabolism (Love you, taller half!), I usually make this sausage and peppers with pasta. But if you aren’t cooking to feed a small village you could use this as a pizza topping or just eat it alone with some fresh bread (or not-so-fresh bread) to sop up all the juices. Mmmm

20140313-223056.jpgThe main ingredients you need:

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic
  3. Sausage (pork, chicken or turkey)
  4. Bell Peppers
  5. Diced tomatoes
  6. Dried spices (oregano, parsley, basil)

You can use any sausage you like, but this dish ALWAYS tastes better with the non-precooked sausage.  I recommend Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian Turkey Sausage or any other sausage that is not precooked. The dish will have more flavor if you start with uncooked sausage.

20140313-223121.jpgStart by slicing the peppers while the sausage cooks in the skillet.

20140313-223138.jpgAfter the sausage is cooked, add the peppers.

20140313-223148.jpgThen add the diced tomatoes and the spices. Stir to combine and then cover and cook on low-medium heat until the peppers are the desired softness (I cook for about 5-8 minutes)

Toss with some cooked pasta or enjoy with some fresh bread.

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Mangia!

Recipe: Simple Sausage and Peppers

Yield: 4-6 servings (when made with pasta)

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4-6 hot Italian sausages (1lb), casing removed and chopped (Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian turkey sausage is my favorite – but you can use your favorite)**
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced (I used 1 green and 1 red)
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes with the juice (not drained)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet add the onion, garlic and oil.  Cook on medium heat until the onions start to soften 5 minutes.  Then add the chopped sausage to the pan (if you are using very lean chicken sausage you may need to add a little more oil).  Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent and sausage is fully cooked.
  2. Add the sliced bell peppers and diced tomatoes with the juice to the pan.  Add all the spices and stir to combine everything.  Cover the skillet and cook on low-medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until the peppers are a little tender (or a lot tender – depending how you like it)
  3. If you are pouring over pasta – Add the entire pan of sausage and peppers to the pot of drained pasta -stir to coat the pasta. (I make 3/4 -1lb of pasta)
  4. Serve with shredded Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Mangia!

** If you use precooked chicken sausage (or any sausage with a very low fat content), you will need to add some extra oil to the pan to cook the sausages. For full pork sausage, you may need to drain some of the fat that cooks off.  I usually use uncooked turkey sausage (Shady Brook Farms Hot Italian) and I do not drain any fat that cooks off – because there is very little.