Monday, February 22, 2010

Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Tomato Couscous

The original recipe is less than inspiring.  I think it lacks flavour and just looks slightly bland.  I wasn't planning on posting it, but at the last minute as I was packing for lunch with leftovers, I added some arugula to the mix.  With some greens in it and a night of marinating, it's worthy of a post.  If you don't have arugula, I think spinach would also work well.  The other keys to this recipe for me were the roasted tomatoes and feta.  Sadly, I originally made the recipe using only the grape tomatoes I had on hand that hadn't gone bad yet.  Tonight I'm correcting that by adding in some roasted cherry tomatoes!  I threw in some chickpeas because they'd been soaking in the fridge and I didn't want them to go bad.  Couscous just seemed like a natural base to the recipe.

Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Tomato Couscous (loosely adapted from Steamy Kitchen)


1 tablespoon tomato paste (I would probably add more when making it again)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for the tomatoes)
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets and dried very well
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
large pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced (I used a small red onion)
2 dried bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (I skipped on this since I didn't have any on hand)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup couscous, cooked according to package directions
1 cup cooked chickpeas or 1 can, drained
cherry tomatoes
feta cheeese
a few handfuls of arugula

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Place on a baking dish face up.  Drizzle with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings if wanted.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until shriveled up.  If you're using dried chickpeas, cook them now as well!
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, mustard, water and vinegar. Set aside.
3. In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until very hot. Add the cauliflower florets and the onion. Season with salt and pepper and dust with cinnamon. Toss and saute until the onions are nicely golden and softened, about 4 minutes.
4. Stir in the tomato paste mixture and add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and thyme. Partially cover, turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes, depending on how small you cut your florets.
5. While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the couscous according to the package directions.
6. When the cauliflower is cooked, add in the drained chickpeas and simmer for a few minutes.  Remove from heat.  Mix in arugula and roasted tomatoes.
7. Serve cauliflower mixture on a bed of couscous and top with crumbled feta cheese to taste.

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