Israeli Couscous With Cauliflower, Spinach, And Shallots

Israeli couscous with cauliflower

One of the benefits of working at home during these awful snow (sleet, rain, insert precipitation here) storms is getting to actually make myself lunch during my lunch break rather than reheating some random leftovers in the microwave. Last week, because it was so gross and nasty out, I was definitely craving comfort food, but at the same time I wanted something with some veggies too. I feel like I've been eating a ton of comfort food lately that is not all that good for me (yes, I'm talking about bowls full of mac and cheese), but it's definitely possible to make a comforting dish that is somewhat healthful.

A picture of some cauliflower couscous in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine intrigued me, and I used the accompanying recipe as an inspiration for my own. Along with a head of cauliflower, I had a package of baby spinach and thought that would be a good addition to the dish, working some extra vitamins and nutrients in.

The measurements and types of veggies in here can certainly be adjusted, and while I cooked everything in chicken stock, you can use vegetable stock or water to make this vegetarian. Also, I finished the dish with a splash of Cabernet vinegar, but you can leave this out or go with red wine vinegar or balsamic if that's what you have on hand.

Israeli Couscous With Cauliflower, Spinach, And Shallots (inspired by Food Network Magazine, January/February 2011)
(Print this recipe)
Makes about 3 lunch-size portions


1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/2 cups plus 1/4 cup chicken stock, divided
About 4 cups cauliflower florets (from one head of cauliflower)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Splash of Cabernet vinegar


In a medium pot, combine Israeli couscous and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Turn heat off, and leave couscous covered.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, and pour in the 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Add the cauliflower florets, cover, and cook until cauliflower softens, about 10 minutes.

Uncover the cauliflower, and stir in the olive oil and sliced shallot.

Raise heat to medium high, and cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and shallot start to brown.

Lower heat to medium, and stir in the couscous with any liquid that remains in the pot.

Stir in the baby spinach, and cook until softened.

Season with salt and pepper, and add the splash of vinegar.

Serve hot.

Israeli couscous with cauliflower

Israeli couscous, toothsome little pearls, are similar to pasta and offer that same comfort a warm dish of spaghetti and meatballs or a heaping helping of baked mac and cheese does, but the addition of cauliflower and spinach lightens the dish a bit at the same time. It definitely hit the spot and made me very happy, as long as I didn't look out the windows!

How do you make a better-for-you comfort food dish? And what dishes are you curling up with to forget about the snow?