Meatless Monday Recipe: Quick Cauliflower Couscous



For a fast, healthy and delicious Meatless Monday recipe, try this tasty Cauliflower Couscous. It’s a simple ragout made from cauliflower, tomatoes, onions and raisins, seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper and served on a bed of wholewheat couscous. NOTE: I use organic and locally grown vegetables and fruits when they’re available in the grocery store or at the farmer’s market. This usually adds no more than 50 cents/per serving to the overall cost, if that.

INGREDIENTS

20140607_152730Cauliflower – (1/2 of a medium-sized head, unless you’re doubling this recipe, which you can easily do; if not doubling, then put half the cauliflower back in the fridge and use later with veggie dip or steam for dinner tomorrow night)

Diced Tomatoes (1 28-oz canned, pre-diced tomatoes)

Sweet Onion (medium-sized; about 1 cup sliced)

Raisins (1/2 cup; I usually use Thompson’s raisins, rather than golden)

Wholewheat Couscous (2 cups; you can use “plain” couscous, but why would you want to?)

Vegetable Broth (3 cups; you can use water instead, but I think the veggie broth adds more flavor and nutrients. You can make your own broth with leftover veggies, or add a low-sodium concentrated bouillon cube to three cups of boiling water and dissolve before adding the couscous)

Ground Cumin (at least a tablespoon, but more for stronger flavor; add incrementally if you’re not sure how much you’ll like)

Kosher Salt or Sea Salt (to taste; you need much less kosher or sea salt than pulverized iodized salt)

Black Pepper (to taste)

 

UTENSILS

20140607_154531 (1)Deep soup pot or Dutch oven (for the ragout)

Sauce pan (for cooking the couscous)

Washable cutting board

Sharp paring knife

Stirring spoon

Tablespoon

Measuring cup (1 cup or 2 cup capacity)

 

 PREPARATION

Open the tomatoes and dump them, juice and all, into the soup pot. Fill the empty can about half full with water, swirl the can to get the remaining juices and bit, and also dump that into the post. Toss the can in the recycling bin. Turn the heat on low.

20140607_154039*  Peel the onion and slice it in half, then slice again until you have a cupful of pieces about an inch long and maybe a quarter-inch wide.  Add the onions to the tomatoes and turn up the heat to medium.

* Add cumin and stir.

* Pull the leaves off the bottom of the cauliflower. Split the cauliflower in half. Cut away the stem and cut the halves in half again. Then cut into small flowerets, until you have about 4 cups.

* Add cauliflower when the onions have started softening up. The mixture should be cooking at a low boil.

Add the raisins when the cauliflower starts to feel tender when pierced with a fork.

* Cook five more minutes so the raisins will plump up. Add more cumin for a stronger flavor and some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

* Turn off the heat but let flavors continue to mix. Don’t overcook the cauliflower!

The couscous can either be prepared in advance and kept in their pot to stay warm, or you can prepare them right after you add the cauliflower to the pot.

* Bring three cups of broth or water to a rolling boil. (The liquid will boil faster if you put a lid on the pot.)

* Add in the coucous. Stir once or twice.

* Turn off the heat but keep a lid on the pot.

The couscous will be done in 15 minutes or so. Remove the lid from a pot and loosen the couscous by stirring with a fork.

 

20140607_191026

TA DAA!!

To serve, mound the couscous around the rim of a large plate, leaving the center of the plate empty.

Fill the center with the tomato-onion-cauliflower-raisin ragout.

Serve the dish to applause! :-)

 

VARIATIONS

The dominant flavors in this dish come from the cumin, the tomatoes and the raisins. Other vegetables that go well with these flavors are:

* Carrots (diced or thinly sliced; add with the onions)

* Garbanzo beans (use cooked or canned beans, not dried)

* Potatoes (if they’re diced small enough and you add them the same time you add the cauliflower, they’ll cook at the same time as everything else)

* Spinach, chopped

 

LEFTOVER MAGIC

* If you have leftovers, just mix the ragout and the couscous together and put them in a covered container in the refrigerator. You can serve them cold with a fresh grating of salt and pepper, or add grated carrot for some additional oomph.

* If you didn’t add garbanzo beans on your first go round, add them to your leftovers and reheat to give the dish some new pizazz.

* If you have plain couscous left over, mound them on some bib lettuce or baby spinach. Top with sliced grape tomatoes and chopped spring onions, plus a dash of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

 

YOUR VERSION?

If you make this, please let me know how you improved it! Did you add different vegetables or seasonings? Cranberries instead of raisins? Please share! Thanks.

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