Roasted Vegetable Couscous is a simple side dish that is full of flavor. Use your favorite vegetables for a wonderful pairing with poultry, pork or steak.
It’s no secret that I have an obsession with pasta. I could never do those diets that eliminate carbs, because I know I wouldn’t enjoy that lifestyle. I also know that I can’t eat pasta all the time or I will gain a bunch of weight. The exception is when I’m training for a half marathon. During those 12 weeks I’m running 15-25 miles/week, and need those carbs for energy. Do I use that as an excuse to eat carbs more often? Well of course I do. But I still keep the portions in moderation.
When I visit unique grocery stores I always stop in the pasta aisle to see what fun shapes are available. Then I end up with way more pasta than I need in the pantry. But I can’t help myself, and it holds very well for a long time. One of those trips through the pasta aisle is actually how I discovered couscous about 4 years ago. I originally assumed that couscous was a grain; however, it is made with semolina flour, the same as pasta. There are numerous types of couscous, but the most widely available in regular grocery stores are Moroccan and Israeli.
I always used Moroccan couscous, until about a year ago when my mom introduced me to the Israeli pearled couscous. I now keep both in my pantry, but use the Moroccan more often. To me, the pearled couscous gets too mushy for my tastes.
When I make dinner, I almost always have a starch and a vegetable as sides to complement the protein. I’ve made plain couscous as a side, but it’s boring by itself. So I decided to add some simple roasted vegetables, to create Roasted Vegetable Couscous.
Couscous is very simple to make. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil; add the couscous and stir; and remove the pot from the heat and let sit. In about 5 minutes, the couscous will be light and fluffy, and ready to eat. When I began making couscous I always used water. However, once I learned to make vegetable broth I use that instead. Broth adds such a wonderful depth of flavor, and there is nothing like homemade broth. Recently I’ve begun to add a little onion powder and garlic powder with the dry couscous.
For a long time I thought that roasted vegetables were difficult to make. Then I watched Ina Garten make roasted vegetables on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, and realized I was afraid for nothing. Roasting vegetables is about as simple as you can get: season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil, roast at about 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
A bowl of roasted vegetables looks much less than appetizing, so I skipped that picture.
I use green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, red bell peppers and red onions for this Roasted Vegetable Couscous, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. You might think, as I did, that the mushrooms and onions would become too soft. However, all of the vegetables were perfect. I usually have a couple of heads of roasted garlic in the fridge, but when I made this Roasted Vegetable Couscous the other day I didn’t have any. So I peeled a few cloves, and added them into the vegetable mixture.
Roasted Vegetable Couscous is such a great side dish. I love the versatility of the vegetables, and it goes well with chicken, pork or steak.
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