I am a grains girl. Always have been. As a kid, I would eat white rice by the pot-full. My love of grains carried into my college days. Somehow, I survived four years on a diet of white rice with pepperoncini and soy sauce, followed by a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a banana. Not so surprising that I left college 20 pounds heavier than when I started.
I have since retired my white rice habit, limiting it to the occasional trip out for sushi. Instead, I get my fill of grains through brown rice, barley, farro and wheat berries (a new favorite). But even as a devout lover of grains, I like to mix it up every so often. That’s where pearled couscous comes in.
Couscous is actually toasted semolina pasta, offering a similar firm texture and nutty flavor to many of the heartier grains. I use it often during the colder months, served under soup and stews. I also tend to cook up a big pot to go with a roasted chicken or pork tenderloin off the grill. Although grains will always be my go-to comfort food, pearled couscous makes for a delicious alternative.
Kitchen tip: Opt for whole wheat couscous when you can. Once hard to find, it is now a regular on the shelves of most health food stores (Whole Foods included). Sometimes you can find it in bulk. If not, look on the shelves where they keep the bags of Bob’s Red Mill. This is actually the one that I buy most often.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 cups whole wheat Israeli couscous
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cups currants
- Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat..
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cumin & turmeric. Continue cooking until the spices become fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the couscous, combining well with the onions and spices. Allow the couscous to toast a bit, cooking until it begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the broth to the couscous. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed.
- Once the couscous if done cooking, fluff it with a fork before gently stirring in the almonds and currants.
Serves 4 – 6.