I made this dish last night for dinner with the intention of it being a side dish for something else. What that something else was going to be was a little hazy. But this recipe, adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian ended up being my main dish. I figured it was pretty well balanced - pasta, vegetable, protein in the form of nuts and a sprinkle of cheese. It's one of those dishes that do well hot and fresh out of the pan, but also the next day as a chilled side dish with lunch. And since I don't know how I would make do without leftovers to get me through the week, that is an important selling point for me. The original recipe (also equally tasty) calls for cauliflower and almonds and a dusting of smoked paprika or pimenton.
Couscous with Broccoli and Walnuts
Makes 4 servings
Time: About 20 minutes
1/2 cup almonds 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot or small red onion, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped (about 3 cups or more if you like lots of veggies)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole wheat or regular couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, water, or a combination
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Freshly grated parmesan (optional)
1. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Or use a toaster oven on a low setting. The nuts will begin to smell fragrant, but not burned. Remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.
2. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to color, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is coated with the oil and starts to soften and turn golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the couscous and keep stirring until it too is coated with oil and begins to toast, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat off. Let rest, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Chop the almonds as finely as you can. Add them along with the parsley and fluff gently with a fork. Return the lid and again let the couscous rest for another minute or two, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with grated cheese if you like, or let cool and serve at room temperature, up to an hour or so later.