A couple nights a week, half of the household has Tai Chi class early in the evening. On those nights, I’m usually good about making sure to start dinner by about 4:30, so they have time to eat without being rushed. Well, the other night, I forgot until about 5:30. I was so caught up in the blogosphere, I completely lost track of time. I scrambled to think of what to make.
My husband is a huge fan of Israeli couscous, and I knew it cooks up quick, so there was my answer. This is a delicious and healthy vegetarian meal, that start to finish (including chopping the veggies) took me half an hour. Everyone loved it and was able to eat in time for Tai Chi.
Just so you know, Israeli couscous is not a type of grain. It is a pasta made from wheat. So is regular couscous, for that matter. So, if you have any wheat allergies, feel free to use quinoa instead. But, Israeli couscous has a unique texture… a little chewy, hearty, like tiny pasta. I think kids would think it was really fun.
Recipe feeds about 4
Israeli Couscous with Yellow Zucchini, Garbanzos and Green Olives
a couple Tbs. olive oil for sautÃ©ing
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium to large zucchini (I used yellow zephyr summer squash), diced
1 1/2 C. Israeli couscous
3-4 C. water 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 C. chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, oregano and parsley because that’s what’s growing in our yard)
1/3 C. green olives (I used Spanish, stuffed with pimientos)
1/3 C. Parmesan plus more to garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Put a kettle on with the water so that when you add it to the couscous, it will already be hot and save 5-10 minutes cooking time. This is a one pot meal, so find a pot big enough to hold everything, but heavy bottomed to handle sautÃ©ing.
Saute onion and carrot just until the onions start to get translucent for a little caramelization. Add zucchini for about 2 minutes for same reason.
Add Israeli couscous, hot water and garbanzo beans, a little salt, but not too much because you will get saltiness from the olives and Parmesan later. Stir, cover, and cook about 5 minutes. The Israeli couscous is done when it is soft, but still al dente. You may have to taste it a couple times to get it just right. Don’t over cook, and don’t let it stick to the bottom and burn.
When it’s cooked, throw in the olives, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. You don’t want to cook out the brightness of the fresh herbs, but the heat will infuse the dish with their essential oils. At this point, taste for salt, and add pepper too.
Serve as a one pot meal, or with a side green salad and crusty bread. It really is a quick and tasty dish. Who said fast food had to be bad for you?