Festive Moroccan Couscous

It’s true…rice was my ‘go-to’ grain.  I prepared it regularly for my family once or twice a week.  But ever since the arsenic reports in rice, we have reduced our consumption.  In doing this, I’ve been exploring other grains.  This versatile recipe uses whole grain couscous but can easily be made with quinoa or barley.  The finished dish is quite colorful, perfect for the upcoming Holiday season (I admit that Thanksgiving is already on my mind because it’s my turn to host this year…a small gathering of about 40!).

Festive Moroccan Couscous (serves 4-6)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small sweet onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

¾ cup frozen peas, thawed

¾ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup whole wheat couscous

½ cup yellow raisins

16 ounces low sodium vegetable broth

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons Za’atar or ground coriander

¼ teaspoon each

kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in large sauté pan.  Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas, chickpeas, couscous, broth, cumin, Za’atar, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.   When ready to serve, mix in pomegranate and parsley.  Enjoy!

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