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Vegetable Couscous

A nice change from rice, vegetable couscous is a healthy and quick vegetarian side dish. Add some beans, chicken or tofu and turn it into a full meal.

Spinach Mushroom Couscous in a bowl 1

Plain couscous takes about 8 minutes to make. This recipe, packed with vegetables and aromatics, takes just over 20 minutes.  I use onion, garlic, mushrooms and spinach as the base, then a splash of lemon (or zest), curry and herbs to build the flavors. All this can be varied of course. 

I like serving this vegetable couscous recipe with maple balsamic rainbow trout, chicken with herb garlic lemon smear , apricot chicken or pork tenderloin with balsamic maple mustard glaze.

About Couscous

Couscous is neither a true pasta or grain. It’s pre-steamed tiny balls of wheat semolina and very fast to cook.

It’s also pretty healthy – fat free, sugar free and low in calorie. Although it is mostly carbohydrates, it has pretty decent protein and fiber – and almost half the calories of rice. Good start. It’s also cheap, light, fluffy and super versatile. Even better.

Tailor To Your Taste

A few variations you could try:

  • Use tri-coloured or whole wheat couscous.
  • Try different vegetables such as chopped peppers, zucchini or kale. Any type or mix of mushrooms such as Shitake, Portabello, Oyster, White Button
  • Good options for herbs are thyme, basil, tarragon, cilantro, oregano.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons curry powder when sauteing the vegetables.
  • Stir in some cooked sausage, beans or chicken to create a full meal.

Shortcut

  • To save some time, use chopped frozen vegetables. No need to thaw, but saute until water is absorbed and vegetables are tender. 

Make Ahead 

  • Saute all the vegetables ahead, leaving the last step (boiling the broth, adding the couscous, then letting it sit for 5 minutes) until just before serving.
  • Alternatively, make the entire dish then warm in microwave for a minute or two.

How to make vegetable couscous

Mushroom Spinach Couscous
main ingredients
Mushroom Spinach Couscous
saute onions and mushrooms
Mushroom Spinach Couscous
add broth and bring to a boil
Mushroom Spinach Couscous
Cover and let sit for 5 minutes
Mushroom Spinach Couscous
fluff with a fork

Spinach Mushroom Couscous in a bowl p2

Spinach Mushroom Couscous in a bowl 1
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4.41 from 5 votes

Vegetable Couscous

A nice change from rice, vegetable couscous is a healthy and quick vegetarian side dish. Add some beans, chicken or tofu and turn it into a full meal.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time15 mins
rest5 mins
Total Time28 mins
Course: Main Vegetarian dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle East
Servings: 5 sides
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions (1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables, diced small, Note 1
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or oil)
  • 1 cup dry couscous

seasonings

  • 1 teaspoon -2 curry powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (e.g. thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more depends on saltiness of broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • zest of one lemon (or 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • Garnish: splash of olive oil, additional chopped herbs e.g. fresh parsley or cilantro, basil, thyme

Instructions

  • SAUTE VEGGIES AND AROMATICS: Heat oil in medium saucepan to medium high. Add onions and chopped vegetables. Saute until all water is absorbed, about 8-10 minutes. Mix in spinach and garlic, stirring for 1 minute.
  • MAKE COUSCOUS: Add broth, butter, seasonings to saucepan with vegetables. Bring to boil. Stir in couscous and remove saucepan from heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Stir in lemon zest or juice. Taste, adjust seasonings. Add garnishes as desired.

Notes

  1. Vegetable options: 8 ounces (225g) of mushrooms makes 2 cups chopped. Or use other vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, kale
  2. Variations to try: 
    • Use tri-coloured or whole wheat couscous.
    • Use any type or mix of mushrooms such as Shitake, Portabello, Oyster, White Button
    • Herb  options: thyme, basil, tarragon, cilantro, oregano.
    • Stir in some cooked sausage, beans, tofu or chicken to create a full meal.
  3. Make Ahead:  Saute all the vegetables ahead, leaving the last step (boiling the broth, adding the couscous, then letting it sit for 5 minutes) until just before serving. Alternatively, make the entire dish then warm in microwave for a minute or two.
Nutrition values are estimates.
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 325mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5018IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
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