How To Cook Couscous as a Vegetarian Main Dish

Turn This Whole Grain Side into a Hearty, Meat-Free Main Dish

Preparing vegetarian dish

Couscous is a traditional pasta of North Africa. It is made of fine granules of semolina flour and is a staple of North African and Moroccan cuisine. The tiny pasta grains are typically prepared as a side dish by boiling or steaming. However, you can easily cook couscous as a vegetarian main dish with a few common pantry items.

Vegetarian Couscous Primavera

This recipe provides a fast and easy way to cook couscous as a vegetarian main dish. It's done in about 20 minutes and serves 4 people.

  1. Prepare couscous. Add ½ cup dry couscous to 1 ½ cups boiling water in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Heat vegetables. Heat one cup frozen vegetable mix in the microwave, or on the stove top in a small sauce pan. Cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the veggies are completely thawed.
  3. Combine ingredients. Combine the prepared couscous with heated vegetables, 2 tbsp. olive oil, ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl or serving pan.
  4. Serve. Serve hot with a salad and breadsticks for a delicious, healthy way to enjoy couscous.

Parmesan Couscous with Peas

This recipe is another healthy way to cook couscous as a vegetarian side dish. With only 210 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving, you'll serve this dish again and again. This preparation makes 6 servings.

  1. Prepare couscous. Combine 14 ounces vegetable broth with ¼ cup water and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add 1 cup couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare peas. Cook 1 ½ cups frozen or fresh peas on the stove top or microwave, according to package directions.
  3. Combine Ingredients. Add the peas, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste to the couscous. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. Fluff the mixture gently with a fork and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve hot with a salad and breadsticks for a complete meal.

Use your imagination to come up with more ways to cook couscous as a vegetarian main dish. Many vegetables, cheeses and herbs combine well with the grain to create great tasting and healthy vegetarian dishes.


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A friend mixed couscous with arugula and slivers of pickled lemon and walnuts and it was delicious.

By Mary Norton