Couscous. This past Christmas 2018 I visited Morocco with my family – and apart from the tagines and breads always on the table, there was not a single meal we had without couscous. It was always served as an accompaniment to the saucier items on the table, as a side dish to the mains, ready and willing to soak up the flavors of whatever dish it was paired with. I regret to inform you all that couscous truly…never crossed my mind, but ever since that trip I’ve been wanting to create my own. Taking note that couscous is often (not always, but how I experienced it) a side to a larger main, I wanted to write a recipe for couscous that allowed it to stand on its own and combine it with the stew-based nature of a tagine, making it the star of your dinner table (or lunch bowl).
I wanted this to be a little vegetable heavy so to start, I decided the best way to do that was to enrobe the couscous in a silky, roasted red pepper sauce. I roasted the peppers with garlic in a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil until they were tender, then blended it into a smooth sauce with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some vegetable broth. I used Pacific Foods’ Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth which I absolutely love because it has minimal, real ingredients. You can even use their chicken or beef broth if that’s your jam, as they carry both! But if you tend to lean more toward a plant-based way of eating, Pacific Foods has you covered because of the sheer variety of Plant-Based Beverages and options they carry.
I also used the same broth to cook the couscous! Rather than using water (which of course still works) I much prefer using the vegetable broth as it makes the entire dish more flavorful with those hints of spices and veggies.
As for the onions, tomatoes and kale, I started by heating olive oil and sautéing white onions with garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin until they were golden, sweet and caramelized. I then added the tomatoes and waited until they became shiny and just burst. Finally, I tossed in the kale and waited until it wilted, seasoning to taste throughout it all.
For the best part – aka assembling because you know that means eating comes soon after, I added the roasted red pepper sauce to the couscous and folded it in until it thoroughly coated the couscous. I then added my sautéed onions, tomatoes, and kale – stirring until combined. I love to serve this up with some fresh mint or parsley. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Thank you to my friends at Pacific Foods for partnering with me on this post 🙂
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 ½ cup Pacific Foods Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
roasted red pepper sauce
- 2 red peppers halved with seeds and stem and membranes removed
- 4 cloves garlic but will need full clove to roast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup Pacific Foods Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
- ½ cumin
onions, tomatoes, kale
- 1 white onion diced
- ½ cup grape tomatoes halved
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cups kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp cumin
Cook couscous. Bring vegetable broth to a boil with olive oil. Add couscous and stir – turn off heat and cover until couscous absorbed the liquid and is tender. Fluff and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay the halved and deseeded red peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Take the bulb of garlic and remove the main peel but allow the skin on the individual cloves to remain. Slice the top off so the tops of the garlic cloves are exposed. Place on the sheet as well and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cover bulb in foil. Roast in the oven until the tops of the garlic are golden and the roasted red peppers have charred and the skin is a little wrinkled – about 20 minutes for the peppers, and about 30 for the garlic.
Allow the red peppers and garlic to cool slightly then transfer to a blender with olive oil, Pacific Foods Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth, salt, pepper, and cumin. Blend until sauce is very smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add diced white onions. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Cook until onions are golden and caramelized, and then add in the tomatoes. Sauté until tomatoes have just burst and the skins start to peel slightly. Add kale and sauté until wilted and tender. Season throughout.
Add red pepper sauce to the cooked couscous, and stir in the onion, tomato, kale mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve with fresh herbs (I like parsley and mint here).
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