It started with the spotting of whole wheat pearl couscous in the aisles of Wegmans, the familiar packaging of Bob’s Red Mill grains beckoning me. I have never cooked with pearl couscous before, but the idea of turning these beautiful grains into a healthy lunch sounded good. I looked up a few recipes that used regular couscous and decided to throw together things in my fridge and pantry to create this wonderful, deeply satisfying salad.
- 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 14 cherry tomatoes
- 8-10 nuts of your choice (I used leftover macademia nuts)
- 2 tbps raisins or craisins (I used craisins)
- 2 tsps ras el hanout (a north African spice mix available on Amazon)
- 2 green chilis finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Roast the couscous in a pan for 10 minutes till light brown and set aside.
- Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add the roasted couscous and salt and cook over a low flame till the couscous is cooked and the water has evaporated. This took me about 12 minutes.
- Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.
- Heat 2 tbsps of oil in the pan that you used to cook the couscous, add the chopped onions and sauté till the onions turn brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, nuts, raisins and ras el hanout and toss till the tomatoes are coated with the spice.
- Turn off the heat and toss the onion mix into the cooked couscous.
- Now add the chilies, cilantro, parsley and lemon juice. Give the contents another toss and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: If your tolerance for spices is low, cut back the ras el hanout to one tsp and use one chili instead.
As I stand in front of my fridge eyeing the fruit options to have as a pre-workout snack, the jalapenos, mint and orange grab my attention. I quickly pull them out along with a red onion from the pantry, some salt, pepper and olive oil and assemble the salad pictured above!
The instructions are so simple.
- Peel the skin off an orange and slice into thin rounds.
- Peel the onion and cut about a 1/4 of the onion into thin slices.
- Chop half a jalapeno into thin slices.
- Chop a tbsp or two of mint leaves finely.
- Arrange the oranges, onion and jalapeno on a plate. Garnish with mint leaves, sprinkle with salt and pepper and douse some extra virgin olive oil on top.
- Savor every bite
PS. If headed to the gym, follow-up with mouth wash! That red onion can be potent:)
Last year, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a guy who was as obsessed with creating and eating good food as I was. So it was natural that when this guy started a food blog, I turned to it for inspiration. Recently, the team behind this food blog breakingnaan.com wrote about their success pairing fettuccini with fenugreek leaves (a leafy vegetable widely available at Indian grocery stores). The minute I read this, I started thinking about my favorite Indian dish on cold winter days…aaloo methi or potatoes with fenugreek leaves. And then the light bulb went off! I could create an Italian version of this dish by pairing gnocchi with fenugreek leaves!
Here’s how you can create this dinner in under 30 minutes. Start with the ingredients below.
Clean the fenugreek leaves well to remove all sand and grit and chop finely.
Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package.
Heat some olive oil, add a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes and two cloves of crushed garlic.
When the garlic sizzles, add the fenugreek leaves and cook for about five minutes till the leaves are wilted.
Now add the cooked gnocchi to the fenugreek leaves and toss till the gnocchi are coated with the leaves (about a minute).
Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the dish and serve hot!
Presto! Here’s the finished dish! We did not have a morsel left over:)