May 21, 2018
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Couscous: a meat-free revelation

Photo for The Washington Post by Dayna Smith | BDN
Photo for The Washington Post by Dayna Smith | BDN
By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, Special to The Washington Post

Whole-wheat pearl couscous is a revelation: full-flavored, with a great texture, easy to cook. It also brings a terrific nuttiness to this side dish.

If you’re willing to go meatless, this could make a simple main course when paired with a salad. If you can’t find whole-wheat pearl couscous, toasted Israeli couscous may be substituted.

Couscous With Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

Makes 4 cups

1 cup dried whole-wheat pearl couscous

1 tablespoon mild olive oil

3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

1 pound plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch-long,1/4-inch-wide strips


Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, rinsed well and cut into 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 4 cups)

1/3 cup white wine

5 to 7 large basil leaves, stacked, rolled tightly, then cut crosswise into very thin strips

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. When the couscous is tender, use a fork to fluff and separate.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring, until just softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, then season with salt and pepper to taste; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chard and white wine; cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chard starts to wilt. Uncover, stir and cook for about 3 minutes, until the chard has completely wilted. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes, then add the cooked couscous and toss to incorporate. Remove from the heat.

Gently stir in the basil, then taste; adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: To peel tomatoes, use a small, sharp knife to cut an X in the bottom of each one. Drop them into a large bowl of just-boiled water; let sit for a few minutes. You should see the peel start to curl where the X is. Transfer to a bowl of cold water or let cool, then discard the peel. Cut the peeled tomatoes in half; gently squeeze to release and discard the seed gel in each half.

NUTRITION Per serving: 200 calories, 7 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

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