Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recipe for Whole Wheat Couscous Side Dish with Green Onions and Parmesan

Whole Wheat Couscous Side Dish with Green Onions and Parmesan
If you think you don't like Couscous, this recipe might change your mind!

Are you open-minded about couscous? I ask because when I mentioned how much I liked this whole wheat couscous recipe during a food conversation with a couple of my sisters and a friend, they were polite but obviously skeptical that couscous could ever be transformed into something you'd really want to eat. I understand, because plain white couscous has never been something I'd get very excited about. However, I love the nutty flavor of whole wheat couscous, and after I ramped up the flavor with lots of thinly sliced green onions and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese, I gobbled up a huge bowl of this for lunch. Best of all, whole wheat couscous is one of the quickest South Beach Diet friendly side dishes you can imagine; this can easily be on the table in 15 minutes.

Some people think couscous is a grain, but it's actually a very small pasta. Most couscous found in the U.S. is the instant kind that cooks in five minutes. Couscous is pretty mainstream these days, but you'll have to look a little harder to find the whole wheat type. In Salt Lake, I can find Hodgson Mill or Fantastic Foods Whole Wheat Couscous at Whole Foods or larger grocery stores. (You can order Fantastic Foods Organic Whole Wheat Couscous from Amazon.com if you can't find it where you live. Full disclosure: Kalyn's Kitchen does earn a few cents on the dollar if you order through that Amazon link.)

I started with a package of Hodgson Mill whole wheat couscous, which measured out to be 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat couscous if you're lucky enough to find a place to buy it in bulk. (The Fantastic Foods brand has 2 cups in a box, so you'll need to increase the amount of chicken stock if you use that. There's a chart on the box that will show how much stock you need.)

Bring 2 cups chicken stock to a boil, using a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. (I used homemade chicken stock, which made the finished dish extra flavorful, but canned chicken broth will definitely work too.)

Stir the whole wheat couscous into the boiling chicken stock.

Then turn off heat, cover the pan, and let it sit for five minutes without lifting the lid.

While the couscous is cooking, cut green onions into thin slices. (You can use even more if you really like green onions.

Measure out 1/2 cup good quality Parmesan cheese.

After the couscous cooked for five minutes, remove lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes.

Then stir in the Parmesan cheese and green onions, and season with some fresh-ground black pepper. Serve hot, as a great side dish for any type of chicken, fish, or meat.

Whole Wheat Couscous Side Dish with Green Onions and Parmesan
(Makes 4-6 servings; inspired by a recipe for orzo pilaf from Bon Appetit magazine.)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you could use canned chicken broth)
4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Using a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid, bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Stir in couscous, turn off heat, put the lid on the pan and let it sit for five minutes without lifting the lid.

While couscous cooks, thinly slice the green onions and measure 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese.

After 5 minutes, remove lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Let cool for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in green onions and finely-grated Parmesan. Season to taste with freshly-ground black pepper and serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Whole wheat couscous would be a perfect side dish for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. I would love to serve this with something like Kubideh or Curried Chicken on the Grill with Cilantro Chutney.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Tasty Recipe Ideas with Whole Wheat Couscous:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Persimmon, Grapes, Green Onion, Mint, and Pine Nuts from Kalyn's Kitchen
Ten Flavorful Couscous Recipes from The Kitchn (substitute whole wheat couscous for the South Beach Diet)
Whole Wheat Basil-Nut Couscous from Eating Out Loud
Whole Wheat Couscous with Spinach and Fire-Roasted Tomatoes from Knick Nosh
Whole Wheat Couscous with Apricots and Pistachios from Eat This
Whole Wheat Couscous Salad from Pragmatic Attack
Whole Wheat Couscous Salad from Food for Laughter
Roasted Eggplant Whole Wheat Couscous Salad from Dani Spies
Tarragon Shrimp Whole Wheat Couscous Salad from Whole Grain Gourmet
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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42 comments:

  1. Now THAT looks good. Quick and delicious.

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  2. I love having ww couscous as a side dish! this look delicious Kalyn!

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  3. I didn't realize there were people who didn't like couscous -I think it's great! Easy to dress it up with other flavors and it cooks incredibly fast. I especially like Israeli pearl couscous - takes slightly longer to cook but I find somewhat fewer little grains scattered under the highchair :-)

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  4. This looks delicious! And I'll have fresh green onions soon - very soon -- in my garden.

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  5. What other green veggie could I subsitute for the onions since I don't like onions?

    BTW, I'd love to see a recipe using quinoa sometime :)

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  6. Aggie and CJ, thanks. I really loved it!

    Kathy, I'm giggling at the mental image of you sweeping up those little grains under the high chair. Does Israeli couscous come in whole wheat? I don't think I've seen it like that.

    Daisy, lucky you to have fresh green onions!

    esper_d, I'm not really coming up with something that would be quite the same as green onions in this, but you can certainly use any veggie you like that tastes good raw, just cut in small pieces. (Maybe broccoli would be good with the parmesan.) This recipe could definitely be made with quinoa too.

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  7. I get my whole wheat couscous at Trader Joe's, it is their brand and its yummy! I love it, but my daughter absolutely hates it anyway I make it. I am gonna try it this way and see what she thinks. I know I will love it!

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  8. I've made a recipe very similar using Quinoa instead of whole-wheat couscous. I'm trying to stay off wheat due to digestive problems with gluten products. I love couscous, but unfortunately my tummy doesn't. Keep up the great recipes!

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  9. Hi Kalyn, I love whole wheat couscous and can get it at Trader Joe's. (I know you don't have one near you, sorry.)
    I make a vegetarian version using 1 cup ww couscous cooked for about 4 minutes in the microwave with 1 can of veg broth. When cooled & fluffed, I add chopped grape tomatoes, scallions, celery or julienned jicama, walnuts, cucumber, chickpeas or black soy beans. I dress it with lemon juice and olive oil and some dried herbs plus 2 Tbsp. of dried mint. Great as a light meal or as a sidedish to a lean protein.
    Maura in Charlotte, NC

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  10. Rhonda, thanks for letting us know that Trader Joe's brand is good.

    Denise, thanks for seconding the idea that this could be made with quinoa.

    Maura, yes I'm still mourning no Trader Joe's in Utah. Your veggie couscous sounds delicious!

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  11. I absolutely agree about whole wheat couscous. I buy mine at Trader Joe's. I love to make a kind of cross between tabouli and Greek salad, with parsley, tomatoes, cucumber and feta.

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  12. Ditto to Trader Joe's! Had some for dinner tonight. Yummy yummy.

    Thx for the brocolli idea.

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  13. This is a really nice, simple preparation. I also use whole-wheat couscous and prefer it to the regular variety. I always appreciate that I can buy it in bulk at Whole Foods.

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  14. Whoops, I hit send too soon. When my kids first started eating solid food, couscous was a favorite, especially with a teaspoon or two of hummus mixed in.

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  15. I am now curious about this whole wheat couscous! I don't think I have ever seen it but then I was not looking for it either! Sounds great nothing beats nutty rustic flavors!Love your dish.

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  16. I have just come across your blog. I start South beach today and think I will be finding a lot of great things from your blog.

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  17. I tend to like Israeli couscous more than regular but this looks so flavorful, I'd have to give it a shot!

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  18. I am an Israeli couscous fan, but not the small grain type. Don't like the texture. However, I would like to find and try the whole wheat version. This recipe sounds delicious and healthy. Thanks Kalyn.

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  19. i just love preparing couscous...its so easy and it can be a main dish as well as sides...nice recipe :)

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  20. So funny that people resist the idea of cous cous- which is basically pasta. I bet anyone trying your whole wheat cous cous recipe would be an instant convert. It looks delicious!

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  21. I have never made couscous before... love saying it. I guess I thought it was a rice. Very good post, lots I need to ponder

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  22. Green onion and parmesan couscous sounds like a fantastic and easy side dish.

    My favorite whole wheat couscous brand: organic RiceSelect.

    Thank you for linking to my recipe for couscous salad--it is recipe that I make all the time.

    BTW, @ esper-d, I have found that recipes that work for couscous also seem to work for flavoring quinoa (although the cooking of the grain itself is different).

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  23. I don't mind couscous, however it seems I'm the only one! It's definitely reliant on what flavour gems you fold through it and this sounds wonderful. I've never seen whole wheat couscous, so must look out for it. Thanks Kalyn xx

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  24. I'm definitely behind on replying to comments here, but I'm happy it seems I might be introducing some people to the idea of whole wheat couscous. Hope you'll try it, it's so much better than the white kind.

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  25. Just made some couscous this weekend and it didn't come out as nice as yours. You make it look so easy as well.

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  26. This looks so very good!!! i will have to try it.
    But right now I am having a bay and she dose not like onions, so I don't eat them right now.:)
    But I will try it sometime.

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  27. I've made lots of couscous dishes similar to this. One thing I like to do is toast the couscous until it browns slightly in a dry skillet before adding liquid & other ingredients. Gives a richer, toasty flavor. Then add the liquid a bit at a time (watch for spatters at first!)...

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  28. Ken, love the idea of toasting the couscous first. I'll definitely try it.

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  29. i completely agree... whole wheat couscous brings the couscous eating experience to a whole different level. Initially i bought a pack of whole-wheat couscous out of eating healthy thing, but after I tasted it once, i never went back to white couscous. whole wheat one has a nice byte to it that the plain one lacks.

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  30. Steaming the couscous will make all the difference to the taste. There is actually a great Turkish recipe that uses bulgar that is similar to your post. Couscous done well is really the dish of Kings and Queens!

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  31. I am learning so much about grains lately - or trying to anyway :) I did think that it was a grain! Wow! We do like couscous a lot in our home as well as quinoa and we even tried Kamut Khorasan Wheat and we are bonkers over it too! Whole grains are so good when prepared with lots of veggies and spices! Thanks for the recipe :)

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  32. Hi Kalyn, Maura in Charlotte again. I made this for dinner tonight and my husband asked me to thank you for the recipe! I added some halved grape tomatoes. We both loved it.
    I served it with chicken under a brick seasoned with smoked paprika among other things and this whole wheat couscous was perfect.

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  33. Maura, what a thoughtful husband you have! So glad to hear you liked it as much as I did, and love the idea of the grape tomatoes.

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  34. I just made this recipe last night, but made it with quinoa! It was delicious - thank you!

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  35. I posted a recipe of yours on my blog... I linked your page, but I didn't know if you wanted me to title it as your recipe. I just want to make sure I'm not "stealing" =)

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  36. Laura, I don't mind if people re-post my recipes if they credit me, although I would really prefer that the recipe is re-written in your own words. But thanks for checking.

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  37. Made this recently, and it was super easy. I served it with some homemade turkey meatballs and marinara sauce on top, and it was good. It makes a huge batch so I might cut it in two next time, but leftovers are always nice! I can see where it would be super easy to change-up the flavors with different veggies and herbs.

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  38. Anonymous, sounds good with turkey meatballs; glad you liked it.

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  39. looks amazing! i just did an entry about couscous and included a link to this page with one of your pictures (giving you credit, of course!) here's the link -

    http://reluctantwwfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/couscous-with-lime-and-scallions/

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  40. Hi Kalyn, I'm making this tonight. I was looking for proportions of liquid to couscous for the whole wheat variety and found your recipe. (Getting back into w-w couscous & brown rice over here. :) Will have it with Ina Garten's grilled lemon-thyme chicken. Thanks!

    P.S. We're lucky to have a couple stores in town that carry couscous in bulk.

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  41. Lisa, I would love to find whole wheat couscous in bulk, but haven't seen it here.

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  42. In the chicken broth you are going to cook the couscous in add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cumin. Add a diced carrot cook till tender, add the couscous cover, let sit required amount of time. Enjoy!

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