Italian-Style Couscous

Have you had enough rain yet? I know I have. It's mid-June, and we're still getting gloomy, gross weather. I'm being overly pessimistic here, but I feel like the summer's half over and I've barely gotten to enjoy it. And to me that's just depressing.

I easily worry and stress out, and dealing with awful weather on top of that doesn't always leave me in the best mood. So when I was planning my lunches for the week, I decided I needed to make something that would put me in a better mood. Something with colors, something comforting.

I turned to a newfound standby of mine -- Israeli couscous -- and I spruced it up a bit.

You can do just about anything with couscous. Here's how I think of it: Choose a meat (or not), some veggies, some herbs, and some cheese. The possibilities are endless. I decided to go for an Italian version. I went meatless, and picked tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spinach for vegetables, basil for my herb, and parmesan for my cheese.

When we finally get some sunny, warm weather, I might try a mixture of grilled chicken, corn, and summer squash with some thyme. You can do just about anything. Get creative!

Megan's Italian-Style Couscous
(Printable version)

1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cups water
2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, halved and sliced (into half circles -- you can also dice, but I wanted thin wisps)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 5-ounce bag of baby spinach
2 tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
6 basil leaves, cut into strips (chiffonade)
salt and pepper

Combine water and couscous in medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off heat, cover, and set aside until all liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in large pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until browned (or to your liking). Then add garlic.

Reduce heat to medium. Add spinach. Cover and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix spinach into onions and garlic.

And then stir in tomatoes.

Mix in the cooked couscous. Continue sauteeing until liquid is absorbed (if you plan to rewarm this in a microwave for lunches, it's OK to leave a little liquid).

Stir in parmesan cheese and toss basil on top.

You can eat it hot, or do what I did and portion it into Tupperware containers, so lunch is already made for the whole week. This rewarms nicely in the microwave.

Hope you're enjoying your lunch! What are you having today?