by Maria Russo in Recipes, March 5th, 2014
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, Recipes, August 24th, 2012
When you’ve nearly had your fill of rice, potatoes and pasta at the dinner table, try introducing another go-to side dish to round out the meal: couscous. A kind of ground pasta that’s easily prepared by boiling, like rice and noodles, couscous comes in two general varieties — Moroccan, which features tiny and coarse granules, and Israeli, boasting smooth, pearl-size rounds — and can be beefed up with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. While couscous salads are simple to make and can often be served cold, hot or at room temperature, couscous is filling enough to shine as the main dish too. Check out Food Network’s top-five couscous recipes below to find classic and creative interpretations of this endlessly versatile staple.
5. Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers — Traditional rice gets swapped out of this flavor-packed recipe and replaced with whole-wheat couscous for a better-for-you supper, finished with a sprinkle of Asiago cheese for a gooey topping.
4. Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad — Boasting the fresh flavors of capers, lemon and olives, Ina’s mayonnaise-free tuna salad is made especially hearty with the help of pearl couscous.
We’ve gotten to that time of summer when even those of us who are most dedicated to the act of cooking are ready for a bit of a break from the kitchen. Thankfully, with summer produce approaching its absolute zenith, it’s possible to eat incredibly well without spending hours by the oven or the stove.
This time of year, I eat open-face tomato sandwiches for breakfast. For lunch, I toss cucumber, corn, tomato and basil together, add a little salt and olive oil and call it done. Dinnertime calls for big salads made with quick-cooking grains or pasta and lots of vegetables. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll call a friend with a grill and invite myself over for a cookout.
In past years, I used a lot of quinoa in dinner salads, but after a plaintive request from my husband for a little variety, I started scanning blogs and websites for something new. The answer came in the form of a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. She combines large couscous grains with grape tomatoes, red pepper, torn spinach, mint and a smoked paprika dressing. The finished product is both familiar (it is essentially a riff on the classic pasta salad) and different enough to be entirely appealing.
Before you start simmering your couscous, read these tips