Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lemony Spinachy Couscous

Ever since I met this pasta/grain, I have been in love with it. Couscous. Yes, it's been a torrid love affair since I bought that bag of Israeli couscous at the westside market this past winter. Since then, I have also tried the whole wheat variety, sold quite inexpensively at Trader Joe's of all places and more expensively at the standard grocery store. Tips for cheap couscous: find it here.

The first time I made lemon spinach couscous (I mean it has spinach, it has lemon, what's not the adore?), I made it with Israeli couscous using a recipe that actually called for whole wheat. Do NOT make this error. This time (and many times before this) I used whole wheat couscous but Israeli is possible (with different cooking instructions. I'll include both.

Now, originally this recipe called for the good stuff, real lemon, lemon zest, fresh spinach, the whole shebang, but in my kitchen, we don't always have a lemon handy (or ever), and I've switched things out and created my own little version. This is a recipe we turn to now when we haven't made a menu plan and we want something quick and easy (and Garet eats it too because he thinks Spinach is green cheese and we have yet to correct this inaccurate assumption).

Lemony Spinachy Couscous
(original recipe found at cd kitchen online)

What you need:
about 2 tsp olive oil (I eyeball it)
1/2 c chopped red bell pepper (the frozen bag of mixed pepper also works just fine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 c water
a few shakes of sea salt
a crank of pepper
1 c couscous (Israeli or whole wheat)
3 T lemon juice (or more to taste)
2 c. chopped, thawed frozen spinach (or more as desired)

1. In med. saucepan, heat oil over med heat. Add pepper, garlic, spinach. Cook 3-4 min. until tender.

2. Stir in water, salt, pepper, and 2 T lemon juice. Heat to boiling.
For Israeli couscous: add couscous, cover, and boil for 5 minutes. Check to make sure Couscous is soft and all water is gone. If it is still hard, add more water and boil until couscous is soft and water is gone.
For whole wheat (easier version): take pan off burner, add couscous and cover. Let stand 5 minutes. All water must be evaporated before it is ready.

3. Add 1 T or more lemon juice until couscous is sufficiently lemony to your tastebuds. Stir and serve.

It makes a lovely side dish with the eggplant fritter sandwiches: pictured here in a pita.

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