Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pearl CousCous Vegetable Salad

 This has been one of my favorite side dishes lately. First off, look at at all of those colors! Helloooo vitamins! Thanks for joining the party- you are super delicious.
Second, it's incredibly and almost embarrassingly easy to make. It may not even qualify as a recipe, in fact, because of how easy it is! We had some leftover produce lying about before our trip to China last month (hence my hiatus from the blog) and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I basically threw everything together and voila! It complemented the grilled chicken we had along with it quite nicely. Really you could toss in whatever other savory produce you've got laying around- mushrooms, zucchini, celery, parsnips, tomatoes, edamame, butternut squash- the combinations are endless.

The pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous, was more of an experiment for me. I have used the smaller, more cornmeal looking couscous for years, but for whatever reason had never quite ventured into the realm of the pearl variety. It has a more distinct pasta taste than its smaller cousin, but cooks almost as quickly and worked amazingly in salads such as this one. I would recommend lightly toasting the pasta in a dry skillet before cooking per the manufacturer's instructions, since that helps bring out their flavor a bit more in the final dish.
One Year Ago: Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken

Pearl CousCous Vegetable Salad

A Butter Than Toast Original

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, diced (about 2/3 cup)
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
1 small Yukon Gold potato, diced with peel intact
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 yellow squash (about 7" each), ends trimmed and diced
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
3 kale leaves, chopped, stem discarded
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked pearl couscous
Salt to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the hard vegetables and sauté until just soft- about 5 minutes- stirring often. Add the greens and wilt slightly, then add the spices. Add the broth, a splash at a time, until some of the liquid has been absorb and some has evaporated. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pot, cook the couscous according to manufacturer's directions. Once the couscous has finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir to combine, taste and season with salt or other spices as desired. Serve with protein of your choice.

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