Some things are just meant to be. A couple of weeks ago I was jogging through Harvard Square when I heard someone calling my name. I was disoriented for a second, but when I turned around, I was surprised to see that it was my friend Rashmi from college – crazy, huh – we had no idea that we both lived in Boston! When we met for drinks the next week it felt like no time had passed at all, so I was super excited to have Rashmi and her hubby Ed over for a Greek-inspired dinner last weekend. I’m trying to relax more when we have friends over and not stress myself out by making too many dishes and spending the entire weekend in the kitchen. So, I kept things simple and served chicken kabobs with tzatziki alongside a big Greek salad and Elly’s amazing moussaka. Our guests brought kataifi for dessert and Greek wine. It was a perfect evening of good food and even better company!
I also made a version of my favorite couscous to serve with the kabobs. It’s stuffed with goodies like artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas, feta, and almonds, and dressed with an oregano lemon vinaigrette. I often whip this up for dinner when I’m tired because couscous cooks so quickly and it’s filling enough for a full meal with just the almonds and chickpeas, which are pantry staples I always have around. But, the dish is really versatile and I often add other ingredients like chicken sausage or mix things up by stuffing the couscous into roasted bell peppers!
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole wheat couscous
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup crumbled feta
1 cup toasted coarsely chopped almonds
To prepare couscous, bring chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, pour in couscous, and stir well. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat and sauté onion for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened; add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute.
Whisk remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt in a small bowl until smooth to make the lemon vinaigrette.
Place couscous, onions, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas, feta, almonds, and lemon vinaigrette in a very large bowl and mix until well combined. Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition: 586 calories, 23.8g fat, 16.6g fiber, 21.0g protein per serving
Cost: $2.21 per serving