Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Perfectly Paired - Israeli Couscous With Zucchini, Mint & Pomegranate

You know we love Israeli (also known as Pearl) Couscous because we feature a new recipe for it just about once a year (check out the latest HERE and HERE). Today's version of our trusty favorite side dish was inspired by a creation my BFF made during one our girls trips to the Catskills (read about that awesome smorgasbord HERE). 

Israeli Couscous with Zucchini, Mint & Pomegranate

Prepping the ingredients, Photo: NK
Her creation stood out to me because it ingeniously included tart and crunchy Pomegranate Arils - a great pairing with the peppery Arugula she mixed in - so good! Our version brings together some great Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors like Mint, Lemon, and of course, Pomegranate. Raw Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies, so we threw it together with a salty, firm cheese called Kashkaval. Pairing these ingredients rounds out the acidic components of the Couscous.  Feel free to use any kind of salty cheese you like (Feta or Ricotta Salata might be easier to find). Whatever you do, find a reason to make this couscous for yourself to bring a little excitement to even the most basic main. Enjoy! 

Couscous With Zucchini, Mint and Pomegranate
Serves 4

1 Cup Israeli Couscous
2 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Shallot, very thinly sliced
3 heaping Tablespoons Fresh Mint Leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
4 Ounces Kashkaval Cheese or other firm, salty cheese, cut into a small dice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 small Zucchini, thinly sliced, then each round cut into fourths
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Arils (from about half a Pomegranate)
Zucchini, Photo: NK 

1. Heat oil over medium-low heat in a small sauté pan. Add shallots and cook, stirring until translucent slightly golden, about 6 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, toast the Couscous over medium heat, stirring, until some of pearls have become golden, 2-3 minutes. Add the Water and Salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and lower to a simmer. Cook 8-10 minutes until the liquids have dissolved. 

3. Turn off the flame and add Zucchini, Mint, and Lemon Juice. Allow to come to room temperature. 

4. When ready to serve, stir in Pomegranate Arils and Cheese cubes. Serve room temperature or 

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