I love dishes that mix great ingredients into one bowl to be served together. This works especially well when combining grains with vegetables for a side dish. Although I'm a huge fan of carbs, especially healthy whole grain ones, adding vegetables to a grain can significantly lighten a dish and add a lot of nutritional value. It also makes serving a delicious side dish that much easier. This dish is my adaptation of a recipe from Epicurious and it combines a unique grain--Israeli couscous--with healthy snap peas and asparagus for both flavor and texture. The lemon dressing and Parmesan cheese ties everything together and makes it worthy enough to be served on its own as a simple lunch as well. Israeli couscous is a wheat-based baked pasta, similar to the rice shaped pasta known as orzo. If you can't find Israeli couscous, regular couscous, orzo or any small pasta would work really well too. But I found it to be a nice change and a delicious soft counterpoint to the slight crispness of the snap peas and asparagus.
Israeli Couscous with Snap Peas and Asparagus
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1 1/4 chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed
- 6-8 oz snap peas, about 2 cups
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Heat about 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the Israeli couscous and a pinch of salt. Saute until lightly browned and fragrant.
Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan.
Add the snap peas and minced garlic and cooked for a couple of minutes.
Cut the asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces and add to the saute pan.
Season with salt and pepper and saute until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
Place the cooked vegetables into a large bowl. Add the couscous, lemon dressing and Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.
Check the seasoning and serve garnished with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Can be served warm or at room temperature.
For a printable recipe click here