Red Pepper And Broccoli Cous Cous Pilaf

Red Pepper and Broccoli Couscous Pilaf

I really love couscous. It’s so simple, almost flavorless, but I love the fluffy texture, the fact that it fills you up like grains without weighing you down, how well it seems to work with other ingredients, oh and how good it is for you. It’s gotta be the grain with the least amount of calories. šŸ˜‰ Even when you go whole grain, you gain extra nutrition and lose nothing in flavor. Kickin’

Steamy Broccoli Red Pepper and Onion

I love the colors of this dish the bright reds and greens of the vegetables pairing very well with the earthy tone of whole wheat couscous; creating a well balanced work of art that sustains tastefully and visually. While I wouldn’t call this a heavy dish, couscous is a grain and pushes this to the upper echelon of the “light” scale. Serve as a main course that won’t weigh down or as a side dish, paired with some protein. I can see some sort of chicken dish as an excellent accompaniment.

Aromatics and Herbs

Red Pepper And Broccoli Cous Cous Pilaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper; diced
1 yellow onion; chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
1/2 jalapeƱo pepper (or an entire on depending on your heat limits)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
generous pinch of salt (optional)

6 oz broccoli; chopped into small florets (2-3 cuts depending on the size)
1/2 couscous

Steam your broccoli until only slightly tender, about five minutes and remove from your steaming water source. Set aside. Bring a bit more than half a cup of water to a boil i a small pot, add couscous, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for at least five minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Cook your onions (with the oil) in a large pan at medium heat for one minute. Add the red bell pepper and cook until the onions become partially translucent and the red pepper has become slightly soft; approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Reduce to medium heat, add your garlic, jalapeƱo and herbs and cook until the garlic is fragrant; approximately 1 minute.

Reduce to medium-low heat and add your broccoli, couscous, tamari and salt. Mix well and cook until the broccoli is tender. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy.

Spring is officially here, and I took full advantage of it this weekend. Some friends and I got together to spend most of Sunday climbing at Carderock, Maryland. The weather was beautiful, the climbs were great… you couldn’t ask for more. It made me a bit sad to leave and prepare for the work week, but another gorgeous weekend will come.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

As the climate changes, so does the type of food we cook. Soup is one of the big things for winter (one of the few things I enjoy about the season) but as the weather warms, often what we eat cools. Salads are big and a salad is what I made that evening; albeit not the traditional leafy kind. This baby has red lentils as the star and I was pretty happy with the results.

Red Lentils and Red Bell Peppers

Like the rest of the lentil family, the reds are a great source of protein. They also have a mild earthy flavor and cook in very little time. The red bell peppers add their sweet compliment and the red wine vinaigrette enhances without overpowering. Be sure to drain the lentils well, though! Otherwise you might end up with something that’s a cross between soup and salad.

Red Lentil Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Red Lentil Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Be sure to drain your lentils well or you will get a rather watery salad. Bleh.

3 cups dried red lentils; cooked and drained
2 red bell peppers; diced
4 garlic cloves; minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
2 table spoons olive oil

Stir your lentils and red bell peppers in a large bowl. Combine the rest of your ingredients separately to form your vinaigrette, whisking to ensure well mixed. Pour your vinaigrette onto your lentils and bell peppers, mix well and enjoy.