I regularly cook with couscous, and people are always asking me about this strange little food. It originates in northern Africa, and is actually a close relative to pasta and not a grain like quinoa as is a common misconception. It is quick and easy to make, and can be dressed up in lots of different ways. This recipe highlights one of my favorite ways to eat it.
Couscous & Beans
– 2 cups couscous
– 3 cups water (or vegetable stock)
– 1 cube vegetable bouillon (omit if using stock)
– 1/2 tbsp. butter
– 1 can pinto or black beans (or 16 oz. soaked, cooked & frozen beans)
– 1-2 cups sautéed veggies (onion, green pepper, carrot, celery, get creative!)
– Salt & pepper to taste
Bring water & bouillon or stock to a boil in a medium sauce pan. If your vegetables are not already sautéed, then do that on the side in a frying pan with a little olive oil. I frequently make this when I have leftovers from stir fry or fajitas, so I often have them pre-cooked.
When the water comes to a boil, stir in the couscous & beans. If your beans are frozen, add them to the water while still boiling, let the water return to a boil and THEN add the couscous. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, fluff with a fork & toss with butter & vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste.
I usually serve this well-rounded dish as a stand-alone meal, but it could also work well as a side dish to a larger meal.
Couscous can be expensive when purchased in most mainstream grocery stores. If you are lucky enough to live near a WINCO, they sell it very inexpensively in bulk (meaning the scoop-it-yourself kind, not the COSTCO kind of bulk) in a couple of varieties! You can also find it in bulk at stores like Whole Foods. Buying in scoop-it-yourself bulk is the secret to eating well on a budget.