Monday, August 26, 2013

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Grilled Vegetables

One of our favorite summer meals is a grilled protein, some kind of grain/starch, and grilled vegetables, all marinated in something or tossed with a dressing. My absolute favorite would be pasta salad but since SP doesn't like pasta heavy meals, we often use rice or quinoa or barley.
I was wasting time on the computer one day and came across a recipe for Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables. I've always wanted to make an Israeli couscous dish and I have ripped out countless recipes that use Israeli couscous but have never actually bought/cooked Israeli couscous. I decided it was time to do so.

You really don't need a recipe for a dish like this, but sometimes some guidance or inspiration is necessary!

We couldn't find Israeli couscous at our Market District (which really surprised me) so on the day that we went to dinner at Dinette, we walked over to Whole Foods and found it there. It's also called pearl couscous.
This is an easy dish to make. As usual SP did all the grilling on Sunday and we put the salad together later in the week. Also as usual, the official recipe was simply a guide.

Some changes we made:

1. We grilled a pork tenderloin marinated in honey, lemon, coriander, and thyme to go with this salad.

2. SP cooked quinoa for himself, in the rice cooker, using vegetable stock instead of water.

3. Mom & I had couscous, followed the cooking instructions on the side of the couscous container, and used almost all vegetable stock and just a bit of water.

4. As usual, we omitted the garlic.

5. We used the same vegetables as listed in the recipe, but our own quantities. For instance, we bought a huge bag of asparagus at Costco and split the bag between 2 dishes we made that week, so there was far more than 6 spears of asparagus in this salad. We had tons of cherry tomatoes, so again, there were a lot used in this. We used zucchini from our garden, so it was all green and no yellow.
This was really, really good. There are 2 reasons we really liked this. One, the vegetable stock added a lot of flavor to the quinoa and couscous. And two, the vegetables marinated in olive oil, balsamic, and mustard before going on the grill. When SP put the basket of veggies on the grill, there was a brief flare up that gave the vegetables a really, really nice grilled, charred, smokey flavor. Really good. We are wondering if dripping balsamic caused the flare up - ?

Sadly, mom didn't like the pearl couscous. She said it was too chewy and she didn't like the little rounds rolling around in her mouth!! She also said it reminded her of barley, which she also dislikes. On couscous leftover nights, she started calling the pearl couscous fish eggs and then decided she was going to eat bread instead. Oh well.

I already knew I liked pearl couscous because I have eaten it out at restaurants, so I really enjoyed the rounds of pasta. I'd definitely make this again - especially for those charred-from-the-flare-up veggies!

Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad recipe here.

Honey Roasted Pork recipe here.

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