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A Sunday Supper: Couscous in the House!

November 17, 2011

For some time now I have been staring at a jar of  whole wheat Israeli couscous in my kitchen cabinet.  I have been so focused on cooking up whole grain goodies that I have not given my couscous any counter time but this past weekend that all changed.  I got motivated and insisted that the couscous be the star of this Sunday supper.

I have always been on the couscous bandwagon and love that whole wheat choices are now readily available at supermarkets.  Couscous is the source of much confusion; it’s often thought to be a whole grain but as they say at the Whole Grains Council, “ There is no couscous plant!” Couscous is actually a small pasta and comes in several forms.  Moroccan couscous consists of tiny granules made from semolina (coarse, refined durum wheat) flour, whereas my Israeli whole wheat version is pearl size and made from whole durum wheat flour, offering plenty of whole grain goodness.

Starting out, I was not exactly sure what type of dish I wanted to make but after a bit of digging I decided on a version of this recipe from a great blog called TheKitchn.  My husband is a shrimp fanatic so this recipe sounded right up our alley!

I really loved how this recipe came out.  The couscous is prepared with chicken broth and lemon juice instead of water so the flavor is rich and delicious!  I added a shallot to the recipe and used fresh shrimp instead of pre-cooked.  I also opted to serve it all over a bed of baby spinach to add additional vegetables to the meal.  This will absolutely be a dish we add to our rotation and we hope you enjoy it!

*The original recipe says it serves two but it is very generous so you will likely have leftovers*

Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous with Shrimp, Basil, Lemon and a Kick


For the couscous:

½ tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Israeli (pearl) whole wheat couscous
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the shrimp:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, (or more to taste)
1 pound raw shrimp, deveined and tails removed
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups fresh baby spinach


Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it starts smelling a little toasty. Add the lemon juice and stir until the juice evaporates. (Reserve the lemon zest for the shrimp.) Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cover the pan tightly. Cook for 15 minutes, then take off the heat and let the pan sit, still covered, until you are ready to serve the couscous.

In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook gently for about 4 minutes, or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Pat the shrimp dry, turn the heat up to high, and add the shrimp to the pan. Cook quickly, turning the shrimp frequently and stirring the oil, shallots and garlic into the shrimp. As soon as the shrimp are heated through (about 4 minutes), turn off the heat and stir in the basil and the lemon zest.

Season the couscous and shrimp to taste with salt and pepper. Place the greens on a plate and top with a bed of couscous and then the shrimp.



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