Oven-Baked Pearl Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas & Feta

I have served this flavorful dish as a vegetarian main dish served over baby spinach and as a side dish with rotisserie chicken, roasted cauliflower and green salad. So versatile! I also love that it is made in one pan.

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend with Couscous with Quinoa, Orzo, and Garbanzo Beans and modified the proportions and method. Nice.

Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish

  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, halved (or a combination grape & small Campari- quartered)
  • 1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions, for garnish (about 2 large)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 to 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 3 oregano, rosemary or sage sprigs
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water (I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, dill or parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ounces pearl couscous (1 1/2 cups)(I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Brain blend)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups feta, crumbled (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)( I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. In a 9×13-inch baking dish, cake pan or gratin dish (I used a ceramic 9×13 baking dish), toss together tomatoes, shallot, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary, oregano, or sage sprigs. Roast until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. While tomatoes roast, heat the stock (or stock and water) until it boils, then stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt, adding more to taste. (You want a well-seasoned broth here to flavor the couscous.)
  4. Stir in cilantro, lemon zest and cumin.
  5. Remove tomatoes from oven and fold in couscous, chickpeas and hot stock mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil, and return to oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and fold in the Parmesan and about 3/4ths of the feta (save the rest for garnish). Bake uncovered until feta starts to melt, another 5 minutes.
  7. To serve, pull out and discard herb sprigs if you like, and spoon couscous into bowls. (I served it in the baking dish as a side dish.)
  8. Top with remaining feta, more Parmesan, scallions, more herbs, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as desired.

Eggplant, Tomato, & Chickpea Tagine

Lucky me! My friend gave be several beautiful eggplants from her garden. This flavorful North African vegetarian stew was a perfect way to use them. I served it over whole wheat couscous as well as with warm flatbread to soak up all of the delicious sauce.

The recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com. I modified the recipe to prepare it in my stove top pressure cooker. I also increased the amount of garlic, substituted my CSA beefsteak tomatoes for half of the grape tomatoes, and omitted the harissa. We ate it with steamed CSA broccolini on the side. It was healthy and hearty vegetarian feast.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 medium to large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or substitute an additional 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 2 pounds eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 of a lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve, if desired
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • harissa, for serving, optional (as a topping for a little spice)
  • whole wheat couscous, for serving (I cooked 1 cup of couscous per the package directions)
  • warm flatbread, for serving, optional (I served it with naan)
  1. In a stove top pressure cooker (or a 6-quart Instant Pot), sauté the oil and garlic over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  2. Add the onion, tomatoes, ginger, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to release some of their juices, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping up any browned bits. Gently stir in the eggplant, then distribute in an even layer.
  4. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) in place. Over medium heat, bring to low pressure (first line on a stove top pressure cooker). Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Set aside.
  6. When pressure cooking is complete, quick-release the steam by moving the pressure valve to vent. Carefully open the pot.
  7. Gently stir in the chickpeas and lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Stir in the cilantro.
  9. Serve over couscous garnished with additional cilantro, drizzled with additional oil (I omitted it) and with warm flatbread and lemon wedges on the side, as desired.

Braised Harissa Eggplant

I must admit that we have been a little bit frazzled lately during our adjustment to the “back to school” schedule. Especially me. :/

This is the first of several quick weeknight dinners (aka “back to school dinners”) that will hopefully help others in the same situation out there. This recipe was adapted from Mediterranean Every Day by Sheela Prakash, via Food 52.com. I modified the proportions. It gobbled up my CSA box! 🙂

My husband and son ate it over grilled chicken thighs and rice to make it a little bit more hearty. I absolutely loved it served simply over rice.

Yield: Serves 2 to 4 (4 with grilled chicken)

  • 2 tablespoons (45 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (about 3/4 to 1 pound, or 340 to 454 grams, total) eggplant cut into 1/2-inch (1-centimeter) cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 large yellow onion or 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 grams) harissa, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 to 1 pound (340 to 454 grams) plum tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, chopped (I used a large (3/4 pound) CSA tomato)
  • 1/2 (7.5-ounce, or 212.5 grams) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch (about 4 ounces, or 114 grams) lacinato kale, stemmed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • rice, couscous, quinoa, or bread, for serving, as desired
  • grilled chicken thighs, for serving, as desired
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots but not completely tender. Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil to the pot.
  4. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent,3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, harissa, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and eggplant and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  7. Simmer, uncovered, until the eggplant is meltingly tender and the tomatoes have broken down into a thick, chunky sauce, 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Stir in the kale and cook until the leaves are bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  10. Taste and season with additional salt and harissa, as needed.
  11. Serve over rice, couscous, quinoa, or bread with or without grilled chicken, as desired.

Sheet Pan Israeli Couscous with Browned Butter, Corn, Zucchini, & Basil

This wonderful side dish had the incredible nutty flavor from browned butter in every bite. It was a lovely way to enjoy my beautiful CSA corn and zucchini this week. 🙂

This dish was adapted from Meatless Sheet Pan Suppers: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven by Raquel Pelzel. I added an extra ear of corn and used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend, a combination of Israeli couscous, red quinoa, orzo, and split dried garbanzo beans, instead of Israeli couscous alone. Great!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 to 4 ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels sliced off the cob
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous or Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced into ribbons
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Place the butter on a rimmed sheet pan and set it in the oven until the butter melts and smells toasty and nutty, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the browned butter into a small heatproof bowl.
  4. Stir the corn and zucchini into the remaining butter on the sheet pan, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook until the zucchini softens and the corn loses its raw starchiness, about 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer the corn mixture to a large bowl and season with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste.
  6. Add the couscous to the pan alone with the boiling water and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine, and wearing oven mitts, cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil (you may need 2 sheets), crimping it tightly around the edges to seal.
  7. Bake couscous for 10 minutes, remove the foil, stir the couscous, re-cover the pan, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the couscous is plump and tender.
  8. Transfer the couscous to the bowl with the corn mixture.
  9. Add the reserved browned butter and most of the basil. Stir to combine and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  10. Serve sprinkled with remaining basil.

North African Meatballs

This ultra-flavorful dish is based upon a version of North African meatballs served in France, where they are called boulettes. Both the sauce and the meatballs are loaded with spices. SO fragrant and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used ground turkey instead of beef or lamb and increased the garlic. I also forgot to include the raisins in my couscous! We ate it with steamed spinach on the side but it would also be incredible served with roasted tomatoes or roasted cauliflower- or all of the above. Next time!

I’m sharing this dish (belatedly, again) at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #111 this week, co-hosted by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Saffron Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • large pinch saffron, crumbled
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef, lamb, or turkey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 T chopped parsley
  • 3 T chopped cilantro
  • 3 T finely chopped scallion
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • olive oil or vegetable oil

For the Couscous:

  • 1 cup giant couscous, m’hamsa, or medium couscous
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften, then drained
  • coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make the Sauce:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more.
  4. Add stock and simmer gently for 5 minutes. May be made several hours in advance, up to a day.

Make the Meatballs:

  1. Put bread cubes and milk in a small bowl. Leave bread to soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry.
  2. In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, ground meat and egg.
  3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons each of parsley, cilantro and scallion, and knead for a minute. May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day.
  5. With hands or a cookie scoop, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter.
  6. Dust meatballs lightly with flour. (I gently rolled the meatballs in the flour as I lifted them up to place in the pan.)
  7. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, or a quarter-inch depth, over medium-high heat and fry meatballs until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain and blot on paper towel.
  8. Simmer meatballs in saffron-tomato sauce, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, Make the Couscous:

  1. Cook according to package directions, fluff gently and stir in butter and raisins.
  2. Season with salt and cinnamon, and toss well.

To Serve:

  1. Garnish meatballs with remaining parsley, cilantro and scallion. Serve with couscous and roasted tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, or steamed greens, as desired.

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Three Years Ago:

Pork Tenderloin with Warm Harissa, Couscous & Roasted Vegetable Salad

I wanted to make this dish because it was so pretty! 🙂

I am obsessed with Harissa- and this recipe has an amazing homemade version. This fabulous Moroccan spice paste is then mixed into an Israeli couscous-based warm salad with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Wow. It lived up to its photo in the magazine- really lovely! The leftover Harissa was fabulous over the pork slices. This delicious recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

I’m bringing this dish to share at Fiesta Friday #73, co-hosted by Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake and Juju @ Cooking With Aunt Juju. Join the party & check out their wonderful blogs as well!! Enjoy 🙂

Yield: Serves 6

For the Harissa Paste:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste (I used chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Couscous:

  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the Roasted Vegetables:

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch small carrots, preferably heirloom in a mix of colors, scrubbed or peeled and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt

For the Pork:

  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil

For the Warm Salad:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • coarse salt
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Harissa Paste, plus more for serving

Make the Harissa Paste:

  1. Roast the red pepper over the flame of a gas burner, turning with tongs, until blackened and blistered. (Or roast under broiler, turning as needed.) Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 15 minutes. Rub off skin with paper towels, then remove and discard ribs and seeds.
  2. Puree pepper with garlic, chili paste, spices, oil, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.) Season with salt and pepper.

Make the Couscous:

  1. Bring broth and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a medium pot. Add couscous and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente, about 8 minutes more.
  2. Remove from heat, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat.
  3. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, spread in an even layer, and let cool, 10 minutes.

Make the Roasted Vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (on convection roast, if possible).
  2. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes and carrots with olive oil; season with salt.
  3. Spread in a single layer and roast, tossing halfway through, until tender, about 20 minutes for the potatoes and up to 30 minutes for the carrots. Let cool completely on baking sheet.

Cook the Pork:

  1. Raise oven heat to 425 degrees (on convection roast, if possible).
  2. Season pork all over with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Swirl in canola oil to coat. Add pork and brown on all sides, turning as needed, about 6 to 12 minutes total.
  3. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in middles registers 140 degrees, about 11 minutes. (I used my oven probe.)
  4. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest 15 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch slices.

Make the Warm Salad:

  1. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. (I used the same pan the pork was cooked in after removing the meat to rest after cooking.)
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl, add tomatoes and herbs, and toss to combine.
  4. Add prepared couscous, roasted vegetables, and harissa paste to the salad; toss to combine. Season with salt.
  5. Arrange couscous mixture on a large platter and top with pork. Serve, with extra harissa on the side.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Green Couscous with Arugula

IMG_9413

A few evenings ago, my husband and son were at a swim meet and I was home with my picky-eating daughter. I had tons of beautiful CSA arugula all to myself! 🙂 (It is my favorite!) Initially, I was going to just eat it as a giant salad for dinner, but this seemed much more special. I quadrupled the amount of arugula in this dish. Healthy & delicious- as a vegetarian entree or a side dish. This recipe was adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. I am bringing this to share with my arugula loving friends for Fiesta Friday #25 at the Novice Gardener. Have a great weekend!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 3/4 cup boiling water or vegetable stock
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

For the Herb Paste:

  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 T chopped tarragon
  • 2 T chopped dill
  • 2 T chopped mint
  • 4 T olive oil

To complete the dish:

  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely sliced
  • 4-5 cups arugula leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the onion in the olive oil on medium heat until golden and completely soft. Add the salt and cumin and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. To make the herb paste. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  4. Add the herb paste to the couscous and mix everything together well with a fork to fluff it up.
  5. Add the cooked onion, pistachios, green onions, jalapeño, arugula, and feta. Gently mix. Serve at room temperature.

IMG_9418

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