By Jess Ziman
Pasta with pesto has always been one of my staple comfort foods but it can get a little repetitive when it’s your go-to meal.
To change it up, I like to substitute couscous for the pasta. Couscous is also a wheat grain but the texture and flavor are very different from pasta. While bland on its own, couscous absorbs flavors much better than pasta.
Couscous is also quicker cooking and requires no draining. You simply pour boiling water over the couscous, bring it to a simmer, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
This recipe substitutes mint for basil in the pesto, which adds a summery freshness and fragrance. However you can really use any green leafy herbs that are lying around if you are looking to empty your fridge.
To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.
Mint Pesto Couscous with Broccoli and English Peas
1 cup couscous
1-1/4 cups boiling water
1-1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
6 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cups frozen peas, unthawed
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Combine the couscous with 1-1/4 cups of boiling water. Bring to a simmer and then cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto: In blender container, combine the mint, Parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
- Cook the broccoli and peas: Fill a pot with enough water to cover the broccoli, add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and boil about 3 to 5 minutes just until broccoli is crisp-tender. Add the frozen peas, stir, then immediately drain broccoli and peas into a colander. Peas will cook from residual heat.
- To assemble: In a large bowl, combine couscous, broccoli and peas, pesto, pine nuts, and feta and toss with two forks to combine. This dish is delicious warm or cold.
Jess Ziman, is an avowed foodie with a fierce passion for international cuisines. Originally from the United Kingdom, she grew up in Southern California where she also learned to appreciate the ease and freshness inherent in California cooking. A culinary student at the Art Institute in San Francisco, Jess, 21, is busy with school and internships. She often comes home to feed her nine hungry roommates; it has made her a pro at whipping up quick, tasty meals on a budget.Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.