Summer is finally here! Can you feel it? I've been enjoying the long days and warm rays and trying to get outside as much as possible. I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't been blogging as much -- I just haven't really wanted to spend my time sitting in front of the computer (after sitting in front of one for 8 hours at work every day) when I could be outside taking Gunner for a walk, tending to my tomatoes, or just sitting on the deck listening to Pandora and sipping coffee with Jeff (usually while we stare at our tiny backyard and think how amazing it could be if money were no object).
My heart also hasn't really been into blogging, and there's nothing worse than trying to write something when you just don't feel like writing it. You guys would see right through that. So the posts I have been sharing with you -- though they're few and far between -- are the ones that make me feel that spending some time at the computer (albeit in the late evening) is worth it. These are the posts I really care about and hope you do too! I'm not writing just to write; I'm writing to share things with you, like this Israeli couscous dish that's chock-full of summer vegetables.
Summer vegetables are one of my favorite things about summer. I'm even growing a garden again this year, so I can harvest my own. (I'm hoping to share that with you an upcoming post.) These vegetables were purchased at the supermarket because I'm jumping the gun a little with looking for squash and eggplant in late June, but soon enough they'll be overflowing the bins at the farmers' market and you'll be happy you saw this recipe. File it away (or, you know, pin it).
Even though it's not quite their season, I was craving squash and eggplant, and even though it's not the most summer-friendly method, I wanted them roasted. I love how roasting tenderizes the vegetables and brings out a bit of sweetness too. After roasting the squash and eggplant with a little salt and pepper and olive oil (keeping it simple), I drizzled them with some very good balsamic. This added a hint more sweetness.
To balance all that sweetness, I also used a little lemon juice and mixed the roasted squash and eggplant and lemon juice into some Israeli couscous that I'd flavored (again keeping it simple) with a little tomato paste.
Finally, I served the vegetable-couscous mix with generous piles of Parmesan or ricotta salata (either cheese adds a nice salty note) and basil that I'd picked fresh from my garden.
The whole dish takes a little longer than an hour to make, but a lot of that time is hands off, freeing you up for other things, like maybe sitting in the sun and sipping rosé or walking around admiring the tiny tomatoes in your garden -- which will definitely make a nice addition to this dish in late summer.
Israeli Couscous With Roasted Squash And Eggplant
Little pearls of Israeli couscous mingling with roasted squash and eggplant
make a perfect summer meal or side dish.
make a perfect summer meal or side dish.
Print this recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
1 small eggplant or 1/2 large eggplant (about 8 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut 3/4-inch thick
1 small yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut 3/4-inch thick
3 peeled garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Grated Parmesan or ricotta salata
Basil, sliced thin (chiffonade)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine eggplant, zucchini, squash, and garlic cloves in baking dish.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir to distribute seasoning.
Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown, stirring every 15 minutes.
During last 15 minutes of roasting (or once vegetables are out of oven), bring 1 1/4 cups water to boil in medium pot. Add couscous and pinch salt. Cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until couscous is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste, then set aside off heat.
Drizzle vinegar over vegetables and stir or turn to coat.
Stir vegetables and lemon juice into couscous (or stir couscous and lemon juice into vegetables if your baking dish is large enough). Return couscous mixture to baking dish.
Serve, topping individual portions with grated Parmesan (or ricotta salata) and basil.
Dig in and enjoy all the summer vegetable goodness plus savory cheese, chewy couscous pearls, and fresh basil!