1) Confetti Pesto Israeli Couscous
-1/2 a red onion, chopped
-1 cloves garlic, minced
-1 zucchini, chopped small
-3/4 cup chopped eggplant
-1 carrot, chopped
-Homemade or store bought pesto (basic recipe below)
-Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add a pinch of salt & pepper
-Add the zucchini and eggplant & saute only a few minutes until softened. Add to the couscous
-Add the carrot
-Toss the couscous & vegetables with homemade or store bought pesto (I like to make my own, it's so easy especially in the mini food processor: blend 2 cups packed basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste)
2) Israeli Couscous with Shallots & Wilted Spinach
-2 shallots, chopped
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-3 cups chopped fresh spinach
-Saute the shallots and garlic in olive oil on medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes
-Add the spinach and a tsp. of salt (helps the wilting process)
-Saute until just wilted. You don't want to wilt it too much that the spinach loses its green color.
3) Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous with Balsamic Sauteed Vegetables
**I was excited to find Gefen (100%) Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous, but to my dismay, when I cooked it, kind of tasted like Matzah Meal!!! Since I didn't feel like having an 8th day of Pesach flashback for dinner, I decided to do whatever I could to mask that matzah-y flavor!
-Saute 1 small onion & 1 clove of garlic in a tbsp. olive oil. Transfer to a glass bowl, and add 1.5 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and set aside.
-In the same pan, saute 1 chopped zucchini & a handful of chopped eggplant
-Add everything to the couscous & toss all together
-Add 1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
-Salt & pepper to taste
-Let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving (refrigerate, or not)
Like any kind of pasta, Israeli couscous on its own is, well, BORING!!! If you don't have a lot of time, tossing the cooked couscous with a little bit of Earth Balance, salt & pepper, and dried parsley for some green color can liven it up just enough to accompany any fish or meat dish, in no time. Or, use your imagination & add practically whatever vegetable you have on hand, sauteed or not, frozen or fresh. It's extremely versatile & can be prepared in no time at all. Just remember to take the extra few minutes to toast it beforehand!