When thinking about what to cook for dinner, I usually decide on my protein – chicken, fish, steak, etc. but the rest of the meal tends to come second place. When I’m looking for a side dish which is a little more interesting than a salad or mixed vegetables, this dish is my go-to. You can make the couscous as spicy as you like, and you can cook the vegetables as hard or soft as you like. Basically you can customize it to your taste.
I don’t have the patience to wait ages for oven roasted veggies, and I find that they sometimes come out underwhelming and wrinkly. This method is achieved on the stovetop, and can be done while you’re preparing and cooking your main. Our favourite is to have this with Blackened Salmon (see below for how to cook the salmon). The whole meal was done in about 25minutes.
Full disclosure here….. tonight this dish was made up of whatever vegetables I had left in the bottom of the veggie tray in the fridge! But this method of cooking it always turns out well, and doesn’t depend on the freshest of veggies to taste delicious.
RECIPE: Pan Griddled Veggies with Spicy Couscous. 238 cals
Serves 4 as a side
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 300g carrots
- 100g red pepper
- 75g red onion
- 85g broccoli
- 1 cup of couscous
- 1 ½ cups of boiling water
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp Olive oil
First prepare the veggies peel the carrots and slice them into about one centimetre thick diagonals. Cut up the red pepper into large chunks, break the broccoli into florets and cut the red onion into large chunks separating the leaves.
Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. With the heat on low-medium, add the veggies to the pan starting with the hardest ones, in this case the carrots. Lay them flat in the pan so that the cut sides get a good contact with the heat, leave them for 4 to 5 minutes then turn them once they have started to char and caremalise.
Then add the red peppers skin side down so that they also char. Finally add the onions and the broccoli and allow them to cook gently. Turn everything over occasionally. This slow cooking and charring results in sweet veggies that still retain a bit of a crunch.
While the veggies are cooking, you can make the couscous – it’s SO quick and easy. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a clean saucepan add the spices and heat them gently then add the couscous and stir well to distribute the spices evenly.
Turn off the heat then add the water, the pain will sizzle but just give it a good stir to combine the water and the couscous and then immediately place a lid on top (if your lid has a steam hole, just place a folded up tea towel over the hole, because you want to trap that hot steam inside the pot to cook the couscous).
The couscous will continue to absorb the water and happily cook away in the hot pan, so you don’t need any heat under it. After 4-5 minutes the couscous will be light and fluffy and tasty. Give it a good stir to fluff it up, then place the couscous onto a platter, top with the veggies and serve.
BONUS RECIPE: The salmon pictured below couldn’t be simpler! Paired with this couscous, it makes a filling meal at only 518 cals!
Pat dry your salmon fillets, dust with Bart’s cajun spice, pressing gently to make the spices stick. Heat a non stick griddle pan on high. Place the salmon fillets in the pan spice side down first. Press the fillets gently into the pan to get good contact with the heat. Cover loosely.
Depending on the thickness of your fillets, turn when cooked halfway through (you’ll be able to see from the side of the fillets when you’re half way there). Turn to cook the other side. That’s it!
BONUS #2: This recipe serves 4 as a side. We were three for dinner, so I had the leftovers for a light lunch the next day. I microwaved it for about 15 seconds, just to take the edge off, and it was perfect to keep me going.