Super-Fast School-Night Side Dish: Couscous with Cranberries & Pecans (Kids Cook Monday)
|October 22, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Recipes, Side dish|
I only met this couscous side dish a little over week ago, and I’ve already made it three times. I’m not sure what I like best about it—the flavor or the simplicity. Either way, it’s a keeper. It’s one of those dishes that appeals to all sorts of palates, from sophisticated to picky. And it can be made it 20 minutes or less.
Celebrated food writer and real food champion Mark Bittman is the man to thank for the recipe. It hails from his Food Matters cookbook and the brand-new Food Day Cookbook, a free collection of real food recipes from some of America’s top culinary geniuses.
On the off chance you haven’t heard of Food Day, it’s a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable and sustainable food taking place this Wednesday, October 24. Created by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the ultimate goal of Food Day is to “strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.” With a couple days to go, it isn’t too late to throw together a casual Food Day potluck with friends or join a registered Food Day event near you.
O.K., now back to the couscous. I adapted Bittman’s recipe by omitting grated carrots, cayenne and sage. The first time I made it, I used Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous and loved it. The second time, I was out of Bob’s, so I used regular couscous. The third time, I used whole wheat orzo. It was delicious each time, but I did prefer the shape and texture of the whole wheat pearl. My kids seemed to like it best, too.
This is an easy one to let the kids help with. Older children help measure ingredients to improve their math skills. Younger ones can pour them into the bowl and help fluff the couscous with a fork.
Couscous with Dried Cranberries & Pecans
Adapted from Food Matters and the Food Day Cookbook
Yields 4 servings
1 cup couscous, preferably whole wheat
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup olive oil, or more as needed
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, or more juice as needed
1 teaspoon coriander
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt to taste
1. Put the couscous in a small pot and add 1½ cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and remove from the heat. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, or up to 20.
2. Put the slightly cooled couscous in a large bowl along with the pecans, cranberries, scallions, oil, and lemon zest and juice and sprinkle with the coriander and pepper. Use 2 big forks to fluff the couscous and toss gently to separate the grains. (The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
3. Stir in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning, moisten with a little more oil and lemon juice as you like, and serve.