Starters & Sides, Vegetarian
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Zucchini Lemon Couscous

Couscous makes for a brilliant alternative to rice or everyday noodles. It’s versatile and easy to prepare, requiring little more than the addition of hot water and fluffing with a fork. Originating from North Africa, as Morocco’s answer to what the Italians had long enjoyed, it’s also made from durum wheat flour, however rolled into tiny pellets of pasta.

This is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy couscous any time of year. This is a terrific side dish, the zucchini so very subtle and transformed into something so refreshing with the addition of fresh lemon. It’s the perfect accompaniment to sautéed cherry tomatoes or served over a mixed salad.

On a recent trip to Greece, I made this again as it is one of those things you can easily make on the fly and most importantly you can find the ingredients for it pretty much wherever you happen to be and if you are working in a kitchen that is not so well equipped, like the one we had, one pot meals are a lifesaver! Okay, admittedly chives were not at hand, so I just used the ends of green onions, finely chopped. Improvisation!

I served this aside lemon infused chicken with dried figs and discovered how wonderfully this particular couscous dish pairs together with the tangy sauce that is served with lemon infused braised chicken. Amazing what one can pull off in a tiny Greek kitchen.

Serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
1 medium zucchini, finely diced
1 cup vegetable broth (240 ml)
1 1/2 organic lemons, freshly squeezed (about 5-6 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon organic lemon rind, freshly grated and finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup couscous (200 g)
1 bunch chives, finely diced

1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for until softened, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

3. Add broth, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt and pepper; bring to boil.

4. Stir in the couscous; cover and remove from heat.

5. Let stand until all liquid has absorbed, about 8 minutes.

6. Uncover, fluff couscous with a fork and stir in chives.

7. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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