Our friend Mick recently brought us a cute little jar of pure maple syrup from his family’s shop up in Vermont. I used some on pancakes and a little to make Ashley’s excellent Maple Almond Butter Cookies, but really wanted to do something savory with it as well. This quick and easy side dish is full of some of my favorite ingredients: whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s that takes under 10 minutes to prepare, delicious dried figs, and crunchy toasted walnuts. I will admit that turkey bacon isn’t as good as the real thing, but it’s a staple in our house since it’s so much lighter. Thanks Mick for the syrup – we’ve really been enjoying it!
Maple Fig Couscous with Toasted Walnuts and Bacon
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat couscous
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices turkey bacon, sliced into small pieces
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup chopped dried figs
To prepare couscous, combine chicken stock and salt in a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, pour in couscous, and stir well. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the walnuts in a dry skillet and heat over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirringly frequently until toasted (or you can bake them at 350ºF for 10 minutes). Remove toasted walnuts from the pan, and add the olive oil and chopped bacon, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until crispy. Remove skillet from the heat, and whisk in the maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and figs.
Fluff couscous with a fork and stir in the maple vinaigrette mixture and toasted walnuts. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 320 calories, 14.0g fat, 6.2g fiber, 13.2g protein per serving
Cost: $0.66 per serving