Mediterranean Style Couscous

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Couscous Mediterranean Style

Experience the fabulous flavors of the Mediterranean with this colorful dish. You can use regular or whole wheat couscous, or try the pearl-shaped grains of pasta known as Israeli couscous (or maftoul), which are much larger and more versatile than the typical Moroccan couscous. You can substitute the couscous with orzo (a rice-shaped pasta), bulgar, or quinoa, all easy grains to have on hand in your pantry. Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen by Norene Gilletz.

  • 8 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons minced)
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or dates
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or mint
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds

Preparation

1. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add the onions, red pepper, and garlic; sauté for 6 to 7 minutes or until golden.

2. Stir in the couscous and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer or until golden. Slowly add the hot broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the couscous is tender.

3. Stir in the raisins, apricots, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and pine nuts and serve.

Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 2 months.

Variations:

Couscous with Mushrooms and Chickpeas: Sauté 2 cups of sliced mushrooms with the onions, pepper, and garlic. Instead of cumin, add 1 tsp dried basil or thyme. Replace the dried fruit and nuts with 11/2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained.

Couscous with Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Omit the cumin, dried fruit, and nuts. In Step 3, stir in 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and drained. If desired, add 1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives.