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Super Veggie Israeli Couscous with Blue Cheese

Super Veggie Israeli Couscous with Blue Cheese

Mmmm. The creamy blue cheese and touch of garlic give it a rich, depth of flavor.MORE+LESS-

1

(14.5 oz) can vegetable broth

1 1/2

cups uncooked Israeli couscous

1

pint grape tomatoes, halved

1

orange bell pepper, chopped into bite size pieces

1

yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite size pieces

2

tbsp finely chopped red onion

2

cup fresh broccoli florets

1/2

cup crumbled blue cheese

1

tbsp white wine vinegar

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  • 1

    In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the Israeli couscous. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, layer the tomatoes, orange peppers, yellow peppers, red onions and broccoli (in that order -- without mixing). Pour the cooked Israeli couscous on top and let sit while you move onto step 3.

  • 3

    Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (1-2 minutes). Pour the oil and garlic into the mixing bowl with the couscous mixture. Add the blue cheese and stir to combine all the ingredients.

  • 4

    Drizzle the white wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to mix.

  • 5

    Serve warm, or chill until ready to serve.

No nutrition information available for this recipe


Super Veggie Israeli Couscous with Blue Cheese - Recipes

Most people who know me well are fully aware of my unapologetic infatuation with all things pasta, and if you’re a repeat reader around here, you know as well. It’s the one food I can’t live without, and I’ll take it any way I can get it.

While it’s typically only appropriate to eat pasta piping hot in the winter, summer poses the perfect opportunity to not only eat my pasta hot, but also super chilled, in the form of pasta salads. For some reason, when I eat cold pasta salad, the starchy noodles don’t seem to expand in my stomach as fast as hot pasta does, permitting me to inhale well over my weight in pasta. Normally this would a very bad thing, because when it is ever a good idea to overindulge in pasta, but when it comes to this Shrimp Israeli Couscous Salad, it’s a very good thing since it allows me eat until my heart’s content.

Have you ever tried Israeli couscous before?? It’s basically an enlarged form of couscous , made with semolina and wheat flour, but unlike the original it’s toasted instead of dried giving it this super nutty flavor I’m obsessed with it. It’s the perfect vessel for a cold preparation, and because of it’s round shape it tends to soak up every bit of sauce you coat it in.

Here, I tossed the cooked, cooled couscous with an easy lemon vinaigrette and then threw in a bunch of items I had lingering in my pantry at the time. I used pine nuts for crunch and nuttiness, goat cheese for creaminess, sliced radishes, because well, they were there, and then arugula for a peppery bite and a bit of freshness. Between the nuts, creamy goat cheese, lettuce and zippy lemon vinaigrette, each bite seems to draw a different set of flavors that leaves me wanting more.

My favorite way to add shrimp to salads instead of sautéing it, is to roast them for seven or eight minutes with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. I feel like it cooks the shrimp a little more evenly, and the end result is perfectly plump, moist shrimp every single time. I let them cool to room temperature before adding them in to the mix.

Without the shrimp, this easy lunch becomes the perfect side to any sort of grilled entrée, perhaps these chicken burgers, these hatch pepper burgers or these easy grilled honey mustard chicken tenders.

I also want to note, that the general concept for this salad came from my new favorite cookbook, Love Real Food , if you haven’t picked up a copy, do so NOW!


What is Pearl Couscous/Israeli Couscous?

Israeli couscous is also called pearl couscous here in the United States. It's not the same thing as traditional couscous, which originated in Northwest Africa.

Pearl "couscous" is actually a round, ball-shaped pasta made from flour and water. I learned it's a relatively recent invention, created to help alleviate food scarcity in post-war Israel. This pasta is called pearl couscous or Israeli couscous in the United States, but in Israel, it's known as Ptitim and is a popular children's food.

I like pearl couscous for this recipe because you can cook it easily and quickly, which is nice for beginners (and for camping trips when you need to get a warm meal in your belly ASAP).


Recipe Summary

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 ounces dried figs, stems removed and finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • ¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed and dried

Pour water into a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in couscous, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until couscous is cooked and water is fully absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer couscous to a large bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until slightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add dried figs and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and black pepper, and cook until mixture thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour fig mixture over cooked couscous and stir to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of crumbled Gorgonzola and the toasted walnuts to the couscous toss to combine.

Divide spinach between four serving dishes. Top each with equal amounts of fig and couscous mixture. Top each salad with additional Gorgonzola crumbles, if desired. Serve immediately.


Healthy Side Dish Recipes

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Pea Salad with Tarragon and Pea Shoots

Alex's fresh, green salad is a celebration of spring with three kinds of peas (fresh shelled green peas, plus snow and sugar snap) topped with delicate pea shoots. Toss it all with a light dressing made with tarragon and sherry vinegar.

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Ina's Moroccan Couscous

The Barefoot Contessa's Moroccan-inspired couscous studded with pine nuts and currants is one of those recipes you'll want to learn by heart.

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Green Beans Gremolata

Ina heats blanched green beans in olive oil before adding a homemade Gremolata to the pan. She uses traditional flavors in the Gremolata, including lemon zest, grated Parmesan, minced garlic and parsley, plus toasted pine nuts for crunch.


Super Veggie Israeli Couscous with Blue Cheese - Recipes

Israeli Salad w/ Heirloom Tomatoes & Spinach-Herb Pesto

6 cups fresh baby spinach, packed

2 cups Israeli couscous (12 ounces), (also called pearl pasta)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces tiny frozen peas

2 medium red heirloom tomatoes* , cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) dice

4 medium yellow or orange heirloom tomatoes*, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) dice

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the 6 cups of spinach and blanch for 10 seconds. Add the fresh herbs and immediately, with a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach-herb mixture to a colander. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, then drain.

2. Wait until water returns to a boil, then add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the couscous and spread it out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to prevent clumping. Add the tiny peas and toss again. Let the couscous-pea mixture cool to room temperature.

3. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, tossing, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

4. Squeeze the excess water from the spinach-herb mixture and coarsely chop it. Transfer to bowl of food processor. Add the pine nuts, garlic, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and olive oil and process until mixture is fairly smooth. If too thick, add a bit of water to make a consistency that will blend into the couscous. Taste and season with more sea salt and pepper as needed.

5. Transfer the couscous and peas to a large serving bowl and stir in some of the pesto (you might not need all of the pesto - start with about half and add more to taste use any left over for a pizza or pita pizza base, as a sandwich spread or you could even spread a little goat cheese on some crostini and add a dollop of this pesto, delicious!) Gently fold in the tomatoes. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.

If you don't have heirloom tomatoes, any type of summer tomato will do, just be sure to use a ripe juicy tomato, not a hothouse grocery store variety.


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One-Pot Creamy Balsamic Chicken and Couscous

A single pot with never-ending complements! This Mediterranean-inspired, skillet-to-oven meal is a simple solution for your weeknight family dinner – all the must-haves for a balanced meal are covered including lean protein, fresh veggies, whole grains and a bit of dairy.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 ½ lbs.)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian Herb Blend (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper coarsely chopped
  • 1 pint NatureSweet® Cherubs® Tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup Litehouse Foods Litehouse® Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1 6-ounce carton unsweetened 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1/2 cup coarsely crushed Fresh Gourmet Butter & Garlic Croutons
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or Instantly Fresh Basil

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 F degrees.
2. Sprinkle tops of chicken breasts with an even distribution of 2 tablespoons of Italian Herb Blend (reserve remaining 1 tablespoon), black pepper and salt
3. Heat olive oil in large oven-proof, 11 to 12-inch skillet over medium high on stove top. Place chicken breasts in skillet, seasoned side down and sear for approximately 4 minutes or until browned.
4. Remove pan from heat and use tongs to flip chicken so that cooked side is up, raw side down.
5. Add whole Cherub tomatoes, chopped yellow pepper, garlic and chickpeas to the skillet, filling in the spaces around the chicken. Pour chicken broth and balsamic dressing around the top of this chicken vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of Italian Herb Blend.
6. Cook uncovered in middle rack of oven for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (thickest part of chicken reads 165 degrees with instant-read thermometer).
7. Remove skillet from oven (remember handle will be hot!) and return to stove top. Use tongs to remove chicken breasts to platter to rest, leave vegetables and juices in pan.
8. Gently stir in Greek yogurt until incorporated into vegetables and cooking juices.
9. Gently stir in pearl couscous and simmer on medium-low for approximately 8 minutes or until couscous has softened.
10. Add chicken breasts back to skillet and sprinkle with ½ cup coarsely crushed croutons and basil. Serve.


Spicy ptitim (Israeli couscous)

In the maze of gray buildings, carpentry shops, Escher-like stairways and metal scaffolding behind my office, you’ll find a little luncheon restaurant tucked away. Well, actually, you probably won’t find it. You have to know exactly where it is, and even then, you still might wind up searching for it.

But let’s say you find it. It’s a modest place — Mediterranean Restaurant is its name. There, a kindly couple dishes up beautifully prepared homestyle meals. Step up to the counter, where a tempting assortment of foods gaze back at you — stuffed peppers, mafroum, meatballs of different shapes and sizes, kubbeh dumplings, mixed vegetables, roasted potatoes, and pasta. Yes, pasta. Among that wealth of handmade food is a simple pasta, yes, the kind that comes in a bag, cooked according to the package instructions and tossed with spices.

Given these options, who would order the pasta?

Well, that’s what I thought for years. Then one day, I don’t remember why, I ordered the pasta.

Suddenly, I understood what it was doing there. It was addictive, and I was hooked.

What makes a lunch counter pasta good enough to compete with a dozen handmade foods, all of which demand more care and preparation? In short, the spices. Tossed with a ruddy mix of Mediterranean spices — the restaurant doesn’t get its name for nothing — this is a prime example of simple pleasures.

Now, I’m back at work but I’m working from home, so I haven’t been at the office in quite a while. But either way, if I want to eat an embarrassingly large quantity of spicy pasta, best to do it in my own home, right?

So this is my best guess as to what goes into that dish. In place of the pasta, I use ptitim — also known as Israeli couscous, or Ben-Gurion’s rice — an Israeli creation that basically is, well, pasta. Little roasted nibs of pasta shaped like rice, or balls, or stars, or what-have-you. My favorite is the rice shape. It has a fun texture.

Thus, in the comfort of my own home, I’m free to skip over impressive stuffed vegetables and elegant dumplings and gorge myself on simple, spicy pasta/ptitim. No one will know.

For one 500-gram bag of ptitim:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 cups water

In a pot, fry the onion in the oil on a medium flame. Add the ptitim, stir and let brown lightly. Add the spices and the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the water is fully absorbed, let sit for a minute or two with the flame off, and fluff before eating.


Israeli Salad with Egg and Feta Cheese

This simple Israeli Salad adds feta cheese and hard-boiled eggs to the traditional diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. It is as delicious as it is authentic!

Israeli Salad was born on Israel’s kibbutzim (communal farms) where fresh salad ingredients were abundant. At it’s most basic, it is diced cucumbers and tomatoes in an olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Wikipedia describes as “the most well-known national dish of Israel.” Way to go on the fame and recognition, Israeli Salad! You totally deserve it. You are sooooo good.

Standard accompanying ingredients usually include onion, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Alone, that would be a delicious enough union of flavors, especially if you’re using sweet, garden-fresh tomatoes.

But last week, my cousin Nina, who once lived on a kibbutz, came to visit. We made this salad together while she was here, and she recommended adding either hard-boiled egg or feta cheese.

Nina specified either eggs or feta, but I insisted on adding both, because mmmm, eggs. And mmmm, feta.

Nina also adds whatever fresh herbs she has on hand. Parsley, cilantro, basil, parsley and mint are all popular choices (We used dill.)

The classic Israeli salad begs for experimentation and creativity. There are versions with radishes, bell peppers, chilies, carrots, cabbage, chives, ginger, chickpeas, olives, preserved lemon peel, cayenne—you name it.

Cucumbers are essential, but you can use either the large English cucumbers or the smaller Persian cucumbers.

Nina’s husband likes to add mayonnaise, which may sound odd for a Middle Eastern salad. But the resulting texture resembles Israeli salads made with the traditional white cheese similar to Quark.

Basically, just chuck in whatever you want. You can’t go wrong. Oh, and try it stuffed into some Homemade Pita Bread along with some Instant Pot Falafel!


21 High Protein Dinners That Don’t Involve Chicken

Not that we don’t love chicken. We do. We eat it all the time.

But when you need a break from chicken for dinner, what are your other protein options? Don’t worry — there’s a wide array of meat, vegetarian, and even vegan sources, like turkey, pork, steak, seafood, dairy, legumes, and quinoa.

So what exactly counts as “high protein”? It’s recommended that the average male consume 56 to 91 grams daily, and the average female 46 to 75 grams. That means a high protein meal should come in at about 20 grams per serving.

Here are 21 recipes that pack a protein punch.

1. Turkey quinoa stuffed bell peppers

Share on Pinterest Photo: Love and Food for Eva

When both turkey and quinoa are involved, you know there won’t be any shortage of protein in your meal. Oh, there’s also a generous sprinkle of cheese on top of each serving, making these some seriously power packed peppers.

Protein per serving: 36 grams

2. Kale and turkey sausage sauté with Parmesan

There’s something about a warm salad that makes it feel more like a proper meal, and this one’s especially filling thanks to turkey sausage. Plus, if you’re not a huge fan of kale, you’ll love the way the sausage, spices, and Parmesan shavings flavor the greens.

Protein per serving: 32 grams

3. 5-ingredient spaghetti squash with pasta sauce

Store-bought marinara sauce and canned tomatoes make this not-really-pasta dinner a snap to put together. Sautéed onion, ground turkey, and dried herbs add richness to the sauce.

Ladle it onto roasted spaghetti squash to satisfy a craving for noodles.

Protein per serving: 28 grams

4. Turkey marinara stuffed portobello mushrooms

If stuffed peppers aren’t your thing, try putting this Italian-inspired turkey mix into portobello caps instead. The ’shrooms are actually a surprising source of protein compared to other veggies.

And when earthy, meaty mushroom meets sauce and cheese under the broiler… yeah, that’s what we’re talkin’ about.

Protein per serving: 26 grams

5. Tex-Mex stuffed zucchini with avocado salsa

Yet another super stuffable veggie, zucchini makes fun boats to fill with Mexican spiced turkey and salsa. Top it with all your favorite additions and think of it as a lower-carb taco.

Protein per serving (2 boats): 27 grams (estimated)

6. Grilled steak and peach salad with blue cheese and red wine vinaigrette

Steak and peaches aren’t an obvious match, but they make a delicious combo for a summer grilled salad. Piled on top of spinach and garnished with pecans and blue cheese crumbles, the combination will surprise you with each bite.

Protein per serving: 27 grams

7. Mustard pork tenderloin with grilled vegetables in foil

Marinated pork tenderloin takes about 12 minutes to grill. Meanwhile, foil packs of veggies share the grill and continue cooking while the meat rests. The blogger tops the warm broccoli and zucchini with cheddar cheese. Yum.

Tip: Be careful opening the veggie packs. When they release their juices while cooking in the foil, it creates steam. And steam is hot!

Protein per serving: 33 grams

8. Sesame beef

Enjoy a Chinese takeout fave made with tender flank steak — with a fraction of the oil, sugar, and sodium. Ready in less than 20 minutes, it’s even faster than delivery.

Protein per serving: 26 grams

9. Lemongrass Thai ground pork stir-fry

Aromatic lemongrass, ginger, shallots, and fish sauce flavor this veggie filled stir-fry. We like to spiralize the carrots and zucchini to make them like noodles. You can get creative with whatever is in your fridge — try green, yellow, or red bell peppers or snap peas.

Ground pork absorbs the sauce and melds with the veggies, and we’re eating this thinking, “I can’t believe made Thai food this good at home!”

Protein per serving: 27 grams

10. Healthy and easy beef fajitas

Everyone loves fajitas — strips of steak, onions, and peppers seared in a hot cast-iron pan. It turns heads in restaurants, and you can turn heads cooking it at home. This recipe gives the steak a good dash of cumin and chili powder.

If you forget to defrost the meat, here are tips for how to slice it.

Protein per serving: 30.5 grams

11. Balsamic roasted pork chops

This is a quick bistro-style meal, worthy of guests. First sear the pork chops, and then roast them in a sweet-sour balsamic vinegar sauce.

Serve with a simple side, like sautéed spinach. We’ve been known to make this meal even heartier by pairing it with baked sweet potatoes.


Watch the video: Florentine Couscous Risotto (December 2021).