Zesty Lemon Couscous with Chickpeas and Tomato

Zesty Lemon Couscous with Chickpeas and Tomato

I’m making an attempt from now on to use capital letters and be a Proper Adult Blogger.  Well, that proper part is maybe a bit extreme outside of typing; I am really just afraid I’ll forget how to write by hand (although in that case I usually do the opposite of what I do here…I write in all capital letters likely as a remnant of my short-lived interior design schooling).

So, who’s hot?  I am.  I don’t mind the heat so much as the humidity, and living on the attic floor of an old house.  Usually I lose interest in cooking and subsist on water, smoothies, and going out to eat.  We hit about 88 on Sunday, the day of the first Twin Cities Vegan Potluck, which I think was at least partially responsible for the relatively poor attendance.  When I actually do cook, they are quick, stovetop items with at least a couple of fresh ingredients.

I’m quite certain that a plethora of vegan couscous and chickpea dishes exist; I’m sure many more than my rather unsuccessful Google search revealed.  This is my favorite way to make one, incorporating my current obsession with lemon zest.  I just can’t get enough lemon!  In my quest for healthier grains, I suggest whole wheat couscous if you can find it, but it would look awful pretty with the larger Israeli variety as well.  Adjust the crushed chili pepper to taste, and if you like it really hot, serve this with a crisp, fresh cucumber salad.  This is really lovely at any time of year (the spice will warm you on the colder days of fall and winter), but the short cooking time, simple ingredients, and fresh toppings make it a suitable summer dish, whether warm or chilled.

Zesty Lemon Couscous with Chickpeas and Tomato (serves 3-4):

1 c vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c couscous

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp allspice
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
zest from one lemon (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c parsley, minced
1 scallion, sliced diagonally

Bring vegetable stock and olive oil to a boil.  Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium pan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened.  Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili pepper, and allspice and cook another minute or two, stirring constantly, before doing the same with the chickpeas.  Add the diced tomatoes and cook until heated through, then grate in the lemon zest.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and combine with the chickpea mixture, then season to taste with salt and pepper (the sodium content of the vegetable stock will affect how much salt you want).  Serve garnished with fresh parsley and scallions.

I finally made it to the garden again this morning, and was greeted by an explosion of growth and color.  I’m hoping to harvest some gorgeous kale tomorrow along with a few beets.  The sky just turned a strange yellow color outside and it began to rain.  I hope it cooled off this little kitty:

little kitty