Not only am I excited to be using couscous, I am excited that it comes in a whole wheat version. I continue to search for new and interesting high-fiber starches to add to our meals. I do miss pasta and white rice, but find whole wheat couscous to be a perfect replacement. It’s high-fiber but doesn’t taste like bark or twigs.
Many of you are likely couscous experts while I am a late adopter. Couscous is little bits of pasta that resemble a grain. When added to a boiled liquid and allowed to sit for 5 minutes, the couscous becomes light and fluffy. I made a wonderful recipe with it a week ago (bad photos so I didn’t post it) that I found in Joey Altman’s new cookbook, Without Reservations (lots of ideas in this book, I’ll post a full review soon). Tonight I decided to step away from the book and try my own flavor concoction.
I bought a beautiful bunch of basil over the weekend … I LOVE BASIL … and figured a bit of lemon, garlic and olive oil would go nicely with the basil and with the couscous. Since the couscous is so light, I wanted to balance it with a little crunch. Yes, I am a texture whore.
I didn’t have any pine nuts but did have sliced almonds. I toasted them up to boost their flavor and to make them good and crunchy. The outcome is a tasty little side dish that I call Basil-Nut Couscous.
1 1/2 cups water (or stock)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1 lemon’s zest and juice
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a saucepan and add olive oil, then garlic. Saute garlic until it begins to take on color, then add water. The pan will hiss and sizzle, but don’t be alarmed.
Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous and cover pot. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. No peeking. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
Stir in zest, almonds, and basil. Add 1/2 of the lemon juice, then taste and decide if you need a bit more.
There are so many possibilities with couscous — what are your favorite ways to prepare it?