Wednesday, March 10, 2010

recipe: israeli couscous with pine nuts and parsley

 Last night's dinner: Baked tofu from Veganomicon, roasted brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, and Israeli couscous with pine nuts and parsley. Delish!

When I got back from Colorado, I was greeted by a large package, compliments of my lovely friend Bobbie. In addition to containing a kick ass laptop bag (useful AND stylish), she also sent me various delicious vegan goodies, such as red quinoa and Israeli couscous.

These might seem like weird things to send to someone, but the fact of the matter is that being a vegan in East Texas is not the (vegan)cakewalk you might imagine. While things have gotten better since we were upgraded to a Fancy New Kroger (which, let's be honest, is no longer "new" and was never really that "fancy" to begin with) things have improved, but only slightly. So when I get a package filled with grains that I can't find in town, I'm downright thrilled.

Enter Israeli couscous. Because I am obsessed with food blogs, I knew that Israeli couscous was a grain, more like pasta than rice. But what did it taste like? How did one prepare it? Where, oh where, could I find it? Bobbie to the rescue!

Below is the recipe from the back of the box, which seemed simple and looked delicious. I was not disappointed. Now I'll have to find a regular supplier before I start having withdrawals.

Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts and Parsley

3 Tbsp vegan butter, divided (I like Earth Balance)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
1/2 large cinnamon stick (I subbed a few dashes of ground cinnamon)
1 fresh or dried bay leaf (I was out, and thus omitted)
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup parsley, minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
black pepper, to taste

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and stir until golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl.

Melt remaining Tbsp butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until golden. Add couscous, cinnamon, and bay leaf and stir often until couscous browns slightly. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in parsley, pine nuts and lemon zest. Season with black pepper to taste and serve!