I wanted to share a couple of healthy-ish recipes that have been a staple for the past month or so. Great for summer when it finally comes and this one is perfect for batch cooking on a Sunday and taking into work or out and about in a packed lunch; even better is that it lasts for a good few days in the fridge!
I have never really been a fan of giant couscous (when it is home cooked), that is until recently when I discovered how to cook it properly, without it actually going slimy or all sticking together. I'm not sure what I had been doing wrong before as all I have done recently is follow the directions on the back of the packet and once cooked I have put it straight into some cold water (I think it is that bit that has made the difference, so that is is my bonus tip for anyone else struggling with giant couscous disguising itself as frogspawn!)
Ingredients (at least 4 servings):
160g Giant couscous
1/2 Butternut squash
2 Medium sized red onions
1 Red pepper
4 Garlic cloves
200g Feta cheese
6 Sun-dried tomatoes
1tbsp Dairy free pesto
1tbsp Olive oil
Carefully using a potato peeler, peel the skin from the butternut squash, then cube into very approximate 1.5cm cubes. Cut the courgettes in half length ways and then slice into pieces approx 1cm wide, do the same with the onions and then cut the peppers into strips and again chop up into fairly equal sized pieces. Peel your garlic cloves and smash them with the side of your chopping knife.
Pour a good splash of olive oil into a large baking tray - (depending on how much veg you have you may need two trays). Spread your vegetables out and give them a good mix - I usually get my hands in to ensure that everything gets a good coating of oil. I would say try to make sure that the veggies are fairly evenly and thinly spread out over the tray - this will make sure they all cook at a similar rate and will caramelise nicely. Roast in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately an hour. It is often the butternut squash that you are waiting for to cook, so definitely give this a prod to check it is cooked - I personally prefer all of these vegetables nicely browned at the edges as the flavours come out better like this.
Whilst the vegetables are cooking you can roughly chop up the feta cheese (or crumble if you prefer) and sun-dried tomatoes and keep these to one side. Now is also the time to cook the couscous and prepare the dressing.
According to the back of the packet of my Sainsbury's giant couscous, you should add your couscous to cold water and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmering temperature and simmer for 6-8 minutes (I always need the full 8 minutes, but I think it is best to try it at 6 minutes and if not ready again do a check before taking it ff the heat at 8). Once cooked, I recommend draining it quickly and then plunging it in cold water. I then change the water until it stays cool - my thinking is that then the couscous doesn't have the chance to keep cooking - which I think is where the frogspawn problem has occurred in the past!
For the dressing I use a large tablespoon of dairy free pesto (my fave is this one from Scala, diluted with the oil from my sun-dried tomato jar (often this has lots of delicious herbs and garlic pieces that the tomatoes have been marinating in) - its a great way to make the most of the oil without it going to waste like it often would). I use enough to make it a fairly thick but runny consistency that is easy to pour over the salad once it is complete.
Once the vegetables are cooked it is best to wait until they have cooled a bit, (it actually doesn't make a massive difference especially if you are in a rush to eat - in fact it is super tasty a little bit warm, but I prefer it if the feta doesn't go too mushy so tend to wait until it has all cooled off), then place them with the strained couscous in a large bowl along with the chopped up sun-dried tomatoes and the feta and give it a good mix around so you have a good distribution of everything, then top with the dressing and give it one final mix up. Voila, ready for eating on it's own or, as a side - works well with some steamed salmon and our chickpea, tomato and dill salad or box it up and put it the fridge for tomorrow's lunch. #healthyandtasty !
Variation: use our salad dressing to pour over instead if you don't have any sun-dried tomatoes or fancy a change.
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