Israeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, chewy, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They are delicious and satisfying and make a great base for a hearty side or salad.
You can make the couscous according to the directions on the package, or use this method if you prefer. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous, and stir it occasionally for about 3 minutes, until it starts to color. Add 2 1/3 cups broth or water, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and continue to simmer for about 12 minutes, until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Then turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 2 minutes.
This is a beautiful side dish. I love using rainbow chard but you can use other varieties of chard, and play around and swap in different types of greens.
This is very nice served warm, but it’s also a great room temperature salad, perfect for a picnic or a potluck barbecue party. It can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
ISRAELI COUSCOUS, SWISS CHARD AND PEPPERS
Serves: 6 to 8
Start to finish: 45 minutes
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large bunch Swiss chard
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups cooked Israeli or Mediterranean Couscous
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Seed, core, and cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces. On a rimmed baking sheet toss the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread them out. Roast the peppers for 10 to 12 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, chop the chard by slicing off the stems and roughly chopping the greens. Rinse well in a colander, then shake the colander to get rid of excess moisture.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add the onions and saute for 4 minutes. Then add the garlic, and stir for another minute. Add the chard, season with salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until the chard is tender.
Place the couscous in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the lemon juice, and toss to combine. Add the cooked peppers and chard, toss to combine everything well, and check for seasonings.
Nutrition information per serving: 183 calories; 57 calories from fat; 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 327 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 5 g protein.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at [email protected]