Houston received quite a bit of rain on Monday, and so that morning I began looking for good rainy day meals. Of course soup came to mind, but then I came across this recipe for a chicken and chickpea stew on Epicurious.
The recipe is simple. Sauteed veggies mixed with chicken in a simple chicken broth sauce spiced with cinnamon and cumin and served over whole wheat couscous. I made things even easier by shredding a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the pound of chicken breasts the recipe calls for. I also left out the tomato paste, did not drain the canned tomatoes, used 2 cups of broth instead of 1, and garnished with fresh cilantro and mint. The combination of fresh herbs with the spices was wonderful.
You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the chicken, using vegetable broth, adding more tomatoes, zucchini, chickpeas, or trying some different veggies. I guess you could use some type of mock meat…if you’re into that kind of stuff. I have tried and actually liked some of those choices, like a Philly “Steak” made with seitan at a food truck called Counter Culture in Austin. Thanks for taking me, Sarah! It really wasn’t bad, but I don’t see myself ever cooking it. If I am going to cook something vegetarian at home, I stick with veggies and protein packed beans. Plus I don’t think Ben would ever go for it. He had a hard time eating chicken sausage, so I don’t think he’d go for tofu or seitan in place of good ol’ reliable meat.
1 small rotisserie chicken, shredded (use 2-3 cups of chicken)
1 box whole wheat couscous (prepare what you need according to the instructions)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 zucchini, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
2 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
chopped fresh cilantro and mint for garnish (0ptional)
Heat oil in deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, cumin and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth and chicken. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Taste and season accordingly.
While stew is simmering, prepare couscous according to package instructions.
Serve stew on top of couscous and garnish with cilantro and mint.
This vegetarian dish can stand alone as the main meal, or it can be served as a side dish. I served this alongside some grilled chicken. When I asked Ben if he’d be OK eating a vegetarian dinner or if he wanted chicken, well, you know what he said. If I were to serve this as a side again I might leave out the chickpeas. It seemed too substantial as a side with them. It can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold (which is how I’ve enjoyed it for dinner and lunch the last couple days).
Yes, I made yet another meal with couscous. I like couscous. My grocery store had whole wheat this time, so I grabbed 2 boxes just in case they decide to stop carrying it again. This is an incredibly simple meal to prepare. The only bad part is having the oven not only on, but on at 450°F to roast the vegetables. It’s in the triple digits outside, so it does seem a little crazy to make it even hotter inside. I do love the flavor that roasting vegetables produces, so it’s worth it. The combination of rich roasted vegetables with the cumin and the bright flavor of the lemon is wonderful.
This recipe came from my dear friend Martha Stewart. I played with it a little bit, but will not say that I “adapted” it at all. I used baby carrots, omitted the arugula completely, and then the dressing I just mixed up without measuring. I used about a tablespoon of olive oil, the zest and juice of one large lemon, and salt and pepper. I’ve said this before, I do not like things to be overdressed or sauced. You can always add more, but you can’t take any away. It’s like cutting bangs, sort of. Some of you know what I mean. Anyway, start by adding a little dressing, taste, and then add more to your liking. The recipe below reflects my changes. The original can be found here. Enjoy!
Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Couscous Salad
Courtesy of marthastewart.com
1 pound carrots, sliced 3/4 inch thick on the diagonal (or halved baby carrots)
1 head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into florets
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place carrots and cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with cumin and 1-2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheet and tossing halfway through. Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/4 cups salted water to a boil. Stir in couscous; cover and remove from heat. Let stand until tender, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; set aside to cool, uncovered.
Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine roasted vegetables with couscous, chickpeas, and scallions. Toss with dressing.
The only part of this recipe that you have to cook is the couscous. Couscous, as you may or may not know, is one of the simplest things to prepare. Boil water, add couscous, stir, turn off heat, cover, wait for 5 minutes. That’s it. I don’t think it gets much simpler than that.
Adding chopped artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian dressing and crunchy almonds make for a lovely and light meal. If you need meat in your meal, as many people do, add a cup or so of chopped cooked chicken (grilled or rotisserie chicken from your grocery store).
This recipe comes from picky-palate.com. She serves this salad tossed with arugula. I served it over a bed of baby spinach. If this is something you are not going to eat all of the first time around, don’t toss the almonds in with the salad. They’ll lose their crunch, so just sprinkle some on top of each serving. You could substitute quinoa for the couscous for an extra punch of protein. Enjoy!
Artichoke & Sun-dried Tomato Couscous Salad
Courtesy of picky-palate.com
10 ounce box Couscous
15 ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
½-1 cup sun dried tomatoes
½-1 cup fresh shredded or grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Italian dressing of choice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken (half of a rotisserie chicken)
½-1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
8 ounce bag baby spinach
Cook couscous according to package directions. Toss to fluff and chill until cooled.
Add artichokes, tomatoes, dressing, salt and pepper, and parmesan, stirring to combine. Serve or chill until ready to serve.
Serve over a bed of baby spinach, top with toasted almonds.