Beet, Pray, Love

Every once in a while, I need to jumpstart the old metabolism and make a few dietary adjustments. Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, I have a committed relationship to pizza and other Italian carbohydrate-y wonders. (Although, she sees it as a three-month fling, whereas I envision pizza and me with a long-term future.)

In order to find an adequate substitute when I need to clean out the system, I look for foods and recipes that are substantial yet light, simple yet colorful. I need a bit of saltiness to curb cravings but almost no fat to make the swap worth it. With a gorgeous dressing and very fresh flavors, this healthy couscous salad can almost fill the void of a pepperoni pizza. Almost.

IMG_7518

Beetroot couscous salad in a lemon-honey dressing:

200 g couscous

300 ml chicken stock

2 beets, cooked and cubed

1/2 feta, cubed

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Instruction:

1. Bring chicken stock to a boil with a generous pinch of salt. Add couscous, cover with a lid, and turn off heat. Leave for 5-7 minutes, allowing couscous to absorb liquid and cook through. Remove lid and use a fork to fluff the couscous.

2. In a large bowl, whisk honey, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Season to taste. Add couscous, cubed beets, and feta. Gently toss together until entire mixture is coated in dressing.

Enjoy beetroot couscous salad with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

One Flew Over the Couscous Nest

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 is to eat more vegetables. The trouble is, I hate eating most vegetables and would much rather tuck into a nice frozen pizza. I’ve realized that the only way to actually stick to this resolution is to find ways of making full, quick meals out the few vegetables I do like, instead of peeling a carrot, eating it raw, and subsequently rewarding myself with a deep-fried something or other.

This resolution is not unprovoked. Over the past fourteen months, I’ve been ill at least seven times. Despite being almost overly obsessed with hand washing, the germs seem to find me and make themselves a comfy home. After the most recent bout of fevers and aches made me miss some Christmas festivities, I realized I needed to make some changes to give my immune system a much-needed boost.

However, there is a danger to eliminating ‘junk food’ completely. As was the case when Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was banned in many schools due to its controversial nature, total lack of exposure simply made people more curious as to its subject matter. As is the case with crash diets, when people try to limit themselves to the pure things, they end up either miserably deprived or lapsing to the other extreme. It is important to read ‘controversial’ books like Kesey’s to be informed, aware, and balanced. So, in the spirit of a well-balanced resolution, after a healthy lunch of couscous stuffed peppers, I think I’ll treat myself to a chocolaty afternoon snack. Happy New Year, everyone!

DSC_0227

10 Minute Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

1/4 cup couscous

1/4 cup chicken broth (alternatively vegetable broth or water to keep the dish vegetarian)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

Salt to taste

2 bell peppers (color of your choice)

Simple Hummus Filling

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp tahini

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove

Generous pinch of salt

Up to 1/4 cup olive oil

Instruction:

1. Bring chicken broth, cumin, and coriander to boil. Add couscous, turn off heat, cover, and let sit until liquid has been absorbed, about ten minutes. Fluff with fork.

2. In the meantime, cut top off, remove seeds and pith from pepper. Depending on how big you want your ‘nest,’ slice rings from top of pepper and save for dipping garnish.

3. In food processor, pulse chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt. Gradually add olive oil. Combine to desired smoothness; I left the hummus chunky to give the salad texture, but the flavors combine nicely when blended until smooth.

4. Combine couscous and hummus. If mixture needs moisture, add a bit more olive oil. Spoon into pepper cup and serve with extra pepper slice, toasted bread, or on its own.

Enjoy couscous-stuffed peppers with Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!