Monday, March 4, 2013

Vegetable Cous Cous

I've done something similar to this in the past for stuffed bell peppers, but this time I just made the cous cous and we had it with some tilapia.  I also left out the sausage that is in the other recipe(s). Continuing with my healthy eating quest and cutting out fat and excess carbs, and adding more veggies, fruits and whole grains, I decided to have tilapia (a kind of white fish that is not too expensive and has those good omega 3s in it) then was looking for a way to add a healthy carb and some vegetables to the meal. I've been making quinoa fairly often lately so I decided to give my husband a break from it and make cous cous. It's more like pasta and not really a whole grain, but I actually seem to get more full from eating less cous cous than I do eating regular pasta (even if it is whole wheat pasta).

I had a leek, some heirloom carrots, and some celery in my fridge, most of which came from my Bountiful Basket a couple weeks ago that I needed to use and would be good to help flavor my cous cous. Rather than purchasing a boxed cous cous with seasoning packets and ingredients I couldn't control, I decided at the store it was a better idea to buy the plain kind and then use spices and veggies to flavor it.  This way I know how much salt, fat, and calories I was dealing with, and I could control it a lot more.  The nice thing about cous cous is that it takes about 5 minutes to cook it. And with the plain kind, I just cook it on its own, with either water or chicken broth, and then fluff it with a fork, and then I add it to my sauteed veggies. I was able to make this whole dish with only 2 tbsp of oil, and it only took me one more to cook the tilapia in my non-stick skillet. Use olive oil and it's really not terrible for you, because olive oil is a heart healthy fat.

Also, I should say here, you can really use whatever veggies you have on hand. This is just what I had in the fridge, and what worked for me tonight. You do need to make sure though that one of those vegetables is an onion, just to get the flavor from it.  Cous Cous is like a sponge and just sucks up whatever you cook it with, so choose wisely.

Anyway, onto the recipe..... I hope you all like it as much as the husband and I did.

Vegetable Cous Cous

3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, sliced and cleaned
1 regular sweet red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, or about 5 of the sweet baby bells, seeded and sliced.
1 c cous cous
1 c water
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp sea salt

Cook your cous cous by boiling the water with 1 tbsp olive oil, and the salt.  When it comes to a boil, add your cous cous, stirring it in as you pour it.  Turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes. When it's done, fluff it with a fork and set aside.

In a medium skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil, and then the leeks when the pan is hot. Let those reduce and become tender and then add carrots and celery. Cook those until they are tender and the carrots still have texture but do not have their full "raw" crunch.  Add cous cous and peppers last, and stir every thing together and continue to cook for 1-3 minutes. You can season with salt and pepper if you like, or add some garlic powder.   Then you're done! Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with your favorite protein.  You could serve it with chicken or whatever you like. You can also cook the cous cous in chicken broth for a bit more flavor. (if you do this, I recommend low sodium chicken broth so you can control the salt a bit better, and then omit the added salt in the recipe)

Serving size is about 1 cup, and it's roughly 45 carbs per cup, and about 100 calories.

1 comment: