Healthy & delicious couscous loaded with roasted veggies, fresh mozzarella and herb; perfect for any night of the week! Light enough to be healthy and delicious enough to fill you up!
Where are my couscous fans? How many of you have never made it before? If you haven’t, how come? If you’re like me, growing up we didn’t have stuff like this. If it was your standard elbow macaroni, egg noodles or regular spaghetti noodles Mom didn’t buy it. This is what she would have considered ‘fancy’ food. Is it fancy? Eh…. not really. The name sounds fancy but the product is anything but that. I mean what you add to it can certainly fancyfy it (yes I totally made that word up so go with it).
If you’re not familiar with what couscous is, it’s nothing more than pasta. It’s just semolina flour mixed with water. Yes, that’s it. Nothing special and certainly nothing fancy. Can you make it like other pasta noodles at home? Eh… highly doubtful as it’s very labor intensive that involves days drying in the sun or specialized machinery to make it. It’s typically like $1-$2 a box – just buy it and save the hassle.
Out of all pastas, couscous is by far the absolute easiest. If you literally can boil liquid (well okay you have to measure liquid first) then you can make couscous. Seriously, you bring your liquid to a boil, pour in your couscous, remove pan from heat, cover and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Literally, that’s it! When you take the lid off you’ll notice that all of the liquid has been absorbed by the pasta. Just take a fork and fluff it and voila! You just made perfect couscous!
Couscous on its own is kind of plain. Again, it’s just flour and water so you need to add flavor. When I make mine, I boil it in a flavored stock. When it’s done I’ll add maybe a protein, roasted veggies (like in this recipe) or cheese. It’s great with crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms and a runny egg. It’s an awesome blank canvas!
For this recipe I wanted to go with something a bit healthier as, even though it’s the holiday season now and we’re all on cookie-overload, I do try to eat healthy 90% of the time. Plus with the new year approaching and my butt desperately missing the gym, there’s no time like the present to start working on new weekly meal prep recipes for the new year. Plus, if I’m being fully transparent here I had a TON of veggies in the fridge that had to be used up otherwise I was going to lose them.
God I so wish my parents were still around to see me eat (on purpose) stuff like this. If you told my Mom that I made roasted veggies AND ate them she would have washed your mouth out with soap for telling a lie. I was the pickiest fat kid you’d ever would have met! Now, I find that I a huge veggie lover, especially roasted ones. And tomatoes! OMG I would have rather given you my teddy bear as a child than eat a raw (or roasted tomato). Now, I love roasted tomatoes though I still won’t eat a raw one. Nope, can’t get past that squish thing.
In making this dish you can totally go with pretty much any veggie you have on hand and even take some liberties with buying roasted veggies. I had a jar of roasted artichokes and red peppers in the pantry so I threw those in. Honestly you can’t go wrong with what you put in this dish. Now for this dish if you wanted to add a protein I would go with roasted shrimp or make some chopped chicken.
The beauty of this dish is that it’s a breeze to make and it really is only 2 pans to clean – the pan for the couscous and the tray you roasted the veggies on. BUT if you’re like me and you line your pan with foil then technically you don’t even have to clean that pan as the foil catches all the stuff and you’re left with a clean tray! <you’re welcome>
Because I know many of you are going to ask how to veganize it I would advise obviously leaving out cheese and perhaps going with tofu (that’s vegan, right?) and adding nutrition yeast. Seriously this is probably one of the most easily adaptable recipes I think I’ve ever created. I would say the only folks that couldn’t eat this are those that suffer from gluten allergies as this is not gluten-free. Sorry guys. HOWEVER I have seen couscous made from brown rice so you could use that.
With the holidays going on and all the parties happening (fyi… we’d love an invite! I bring food as I don’t come empty-handed ya know *wink*) this would be a great dish to bring along with the basket of cheer or cookie tray. This recipe is one that you can have hot, warm, room temp and yes, even cold. I would just advise to hold off on adding the cheese until you’re ready to serve. So if you make a batch and are going to heat it up later on, add the cheeses after you warm it up. You don’t want a melty cheesy mess (though still totally delicious!).
So thinking about all of the variations for this dish – what are some veggie and or meat ideas you would add to make this your own? FYI… roasted asparagus, water chestnuts and crispy bacon lardons are crazy delish!Print
- 10 ounce box couscous
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 pound campari tomatoes, halved (or whole cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini cut into 1/2″ rounds
- 2 Tbl olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt and pepper, each
Jarred Roasted Veggies
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (about 1-2 peppers), reserve 1/4 cup liquid
- 8 ounce jar, drained roasted artichoke hearts, cut in haf *if not roasted, do NOT cut them. Just add them to your tray of roasted veggies and cut when they are done.
- 4 ounces pearl mozzarella, drained (you want fresh mozzarella pieces)
- 1/4 cup grated Grana Padano (or fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- 2-3 Tbl olive oil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- kosher salt/black pepper for taste
- 10-12 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Roast the veggies
- Preheat the oven to 400F, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; set aside.
- In a bowl add the zucchini, tomatoes, and artichokes (if not already roasted). Add in the oil, salt and pepper and gently mix. Place the veggies on the pan in a single layer. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the veggies have turned soft but still have a slight firmness to them.
Make the couscous
- In a large sauce pot add the stock and bring to a boil. Once it’s to a boil add the couscous and salt. Stir, cover and remove the pot from the heat. Allow to sit untouched for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the couscous and gently fluff with the fork. Next add in all of the roasted veggies plus any liquid on the tray. Gently stir. Add in the cheeses, lemon juice, oil, red pepper flakes. Stir and taste. If needed add in additional salt and pepper for taste. If it seems too dry add in the reserved roasted pepper liquid and stir. Taste for seasoning.
Keywords: healthy, meal prep, couscous, roasted veggie, side dish, meal planning, vegetarian