#TASTYBITS: Curried Couscous with Spinach and Chickpeas


Curried Couscous

Gristle & Gossip’s “TastyBits” feature quick and delicious meatless or seafood recipes that we love! This edition is dedicated to my favorite “Meatless Monday” dish – Curried Couscous.

I love a simple, meatless dish that I can whip together with a few ingredients already in my pantry. I often find myself improvising or tweaking a recipe a bit just so I can use something I already have. My grocery bill tends to skyrocket when attempting to follow recipes verbatim. I find pleasure in substituting when I don’t have an exact item, it makes me feel adventurous, like Chef Hercules!

My husband and I have started to only eat fish when dining out and very rarely do we cook with any meat at home. This leads us to constantly seek meatless dishes/recipes that contain the necessary amounts of protein needed to maintain a healthy diet. Some recipes I’ve tried have been total disasters while others have been huge hits and are now a part of our weekly rotation.

I am sucker for legumes – Chickpeas are my favorite and I always have bags of them in my pantry. I decided to find a recipe that listed them as the base and stumbled upon a Curried Couscous dish that sounded delicious…so I went for it and am encouraging you to try as well.

As I mentioned, this recipe called for items I didn’t have so I added what I thought may work, and prayed for the best. The sun-dried tomatoes, sherry & fresh dill were subbed for canned tomatoes, Japanese rice wine and dried dill.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 can of diced, No salt added, canned tomatoes (drain)
1 tablespoon dried dill
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 handfuls of fresh, hand shredded spinach
1 tablespoon of Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)
4 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained or 1 cup fresh (pre-soaked) Chickpeas
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Israeli couscous
salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, canned tomatoes, dill, and garlic; cook and stir until onions start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. I left my garlic whole, because I love the flavor it adds to the dish. Stir in spinach, increase heat slightly, and cook until spinach begins to wilt, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

Pour in Mirin (of which I found to be a great substitute for Sherry) and cook until most liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, chickpeas, and 1 cup of the vegetable broth; cook for about 5 minutes. Add remaining broth and bring mixture to a boil. Stir in couscous and simmer, about 2-3 minutes. The Couscous will swell. At this point I tasted it to determine if more spices (curry, cayenne or salt) were needed.

Remove mixture from heat and cover until couscous absorbs all the liquid, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt. Serve Curried Couscous with Spinach and Chickpeas with warm Naan or pita bread while hot! Enjoy…

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