Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Couscous and vegie saute'

After this last weekends Battle Bacon I am pretty much overloaded with animal proteins and their associated fats. Don't get me wrong, I'm still an omnivore with heavy carnivore overtones, BUT - I still like lighter vegie only meals to keep the pipes clean and functioning.

One of my favorite summer meals is a simple vegie saute tossed with warm couscous. Nice and filling, full of flavor but it doesn't weigh you down. Couscous also has the advantage of being the easiest pasta on the planet to cook. Had boiling water or stock and walk away. No boiling pot of water adding tons of steam to the kitchen making a hot day worse.

Couscous & Vegie Saute'

  • 1 1/c water or stock
  • 1 c couscous
  • 2 medium zucchini -sliced
  • 8 oz button mushrooms
  • 1 med red onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1/4 c basil coarse chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Bring water or stock to a boil. Pour over couscous, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Slice mushrooms in halve, quarter the really big ones. Add to hot oil. Cook approximately 5 minutes until they start to brown.

Add sliced zucchini. Cook about 5 minutes until they start to brown. Chop onion and green pepper and add to pan. Add half of the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5-10 minutes or until onion begins to caramelize.

Fluff couscous with a fork. Add the hot vegies and remaining chopped basil. Toss lightly and serve hot.

This is a pretty versatile dish. You can use it as a side dish or main course.

Best flavor in the couscous comes from using a good stock, beef or chicken. If you are using as a side dish chose a stock that compliments your main (beef for beef for example). If you are looking to go vegetarian use vegetable stock.

Also, if you want your vegies to brown better during the saute process reduce the olive oil by half and substitue in a pat of butter to replace the removed oil. It does add a bit of animal fat to the dish that is otherwise missing, but what the heck...what is a little butter between friends?

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