Saturday, November 20, 2010

Israeli Couscous with Sautéed Vegetables

While I had long been intending to make the eggplant stuffed phyllo triangles, I hadn’t really planned to serve them to anyone but myself. When my friends Jessica and Jodie offered to make the long voyage across the bridge to my house, I realized I had to turn this dish into a meal. I wanted to incorporate complementary flavors and styles, while keeping things light, fresh, and healthy. Couscous is a traditional Middle Eastern food, served either as a side dish, or as an accompaniment to stews. It’s actually very small orbs of pasta, rather than a grain, but it can function like a rice or cereal in a variety of dishes. Israeli or Pearl couscous is simply a larger orb of pasta. It’s a different and uniquely enjoyable texture that is a lot of fun to eat!

My real goal in this side dish was simply to incorporate as many vegetables as possible.   The filling of the triangles is obviously plant based, but part of being a healthful vegan is eating a wide variety of vegetables of many colors every day.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1/2 sweet potato diced
1 zucchini diced
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, carrot, and bell pepper until tender. Add the sweet potato and sauté for another 5 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add the couscous and brown slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and the zucchini and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 12 minutes. The couscous should be tender, and the liquid should be absorbed. Taste for salt and pepper, and top with lemon zest. Serve immediately!

Check back tomorrow to see what I did with the leftovers!

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