11 October 2011

Fall Couscous with Carrots and Eggplant


I have a confession to make. Often, I am at a loss on how to use eggplant. Really the thought of it rarely comes up in my life, considering Hubby doesn't like it much, and I don't have a varied eggplant recipe repertoire. That's not to say I don't like it, because I really do. It just means that I have to make a very concerted effort to use it, and develop recipes highlighting its flavor. Fortunately, when it came to test kitchen day,
the idea of eggplant immediately came into my mind when attempting to decide which fall vegetables to use to highlight one of my favorite grains...couscous. It's fall and root vegetables are in-season (i.e. turnips, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, yams, &c...) and eggplants are plentiful too so it was a natural choice along with carrots for this dish. Finally, with any vegetarian food choice it's important to make sure a protein source is added. Believe it or not you can over do it with soy based meat substitutes as they are technically processed foods. Therefore, for this dish I added Garbanzo beans. Their low in sodium and very high in protein. That combined with the vitamins and minerals of the carrots, eggplant, red pepper and onion makes this dish perfect as a main dish or side. Either way, you can't go wrong.

______________________________________________________
Fall Couscous with Carrots and Eggplant
serves 4-6

1 Red Onion, sliced in rounds..................................................$3.00 for 8 (at the Farmers Market or FM)
1 Red Pepper, sliced lengthwise..................................................................................$3.00 for 4 (at FM)
3 cloves Garlic.............................................................................................    $.50 for 1 bulb (at the FM)
5 small Eggplant, cubed.........................................................................................$3.00 for 8 (at the FM)
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
15 oz Garbanzo Beans (this is the equivalent of 1 can)........................................$1.25 (at the supermarket)
1 1/2 cup dry Couscous, cooked..............................................................$1.99 for 1 box (at Trader Joe's)
1 Vegetable/Chicken or Beef Bouillon Cube
2 tsp Salt
1-2 tbsp Ground Cumin...........................................................................................$1.45 (at supermarket)
1 handful Cilantro (about 30 leaves) (Optional)...................................................$1.00 for 1 Bunch (at FM)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a baking pan, add the onion, pepper, garlic, and eggplant. Coat with the Olive Oil. Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. Cooking times will vary based on ovens.

Cook the couscous according to its directions. Instead of boiling and cooking the couscous in plain water, add a bouillon cube to the water.

In a large serving bowl add the cooked couscous, roasted vegetables, garbanzo beans, cumin and salt. Mix gently but thoroughly. Place the cilantro leaves on top. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!
-Elle

No comments: