Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions

After seeing my naturapath yesterday I realised I really have to amp up my bean intake and make more of an effort to combine plant-based proteins for the baby. As much as I love eating beans I always forget to put them to soak the night. Although I don’t enjoy lentils as much, they are really handy when you have limited time and are out of bpa free canned beans (which I have been relying on). I was also craving pearl couscous after that delicious dish I had from East Elevation a few days ago in Melbourne.

This dish was inspired by Mujaddara but with a few alterations. I used pearl couscous for a different texture and some kale and pepitas seeds for an extra nutritional boost. This dish usually calls for crispy fried onions on top, but I decided to not over cook the onions, to  leave as much nutrients as possible. It was a delicious combination. I hope my little one is enjoying some new flavours.

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 Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup green lentils (you only need 1 cup of cooked lentils, so cook 1 cup dry for leftovers)

2 cups diced brown onion (about 1.5 onions)

olive oil

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup pearl couscous

1.5 cup liquid vegetable stock (chicken or veg flavoured)

2 cups sliced kale, tightly packed (about 2 large kale leaves, large stems removed)

3 tablespoons pepitas seeds

Method:

1. Place the green lentils in a pot with enough water to cover and bring the boil. Then place on a simmer and cook until tender. Once cooked leave to the side.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and then add the onion. Cook on a low to medium heat until the onions have browned and caramelized. This should take about 20 minutes. Once they are browned remove from the skillet and place to the side.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the ground cumin, ground cinnamon, all spice and sea salt. Cook for a future 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4. Add the couscous and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the couscous is tender. Add more stock if it starts to stick to the pot.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and then add the kale. Lightly saute until the kale has wilted and is a vibrant green colour.

6. Toast the pepitas seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop a little then place to the side.

7. Make sure the couscous is off the heat and then add 1 cup of cooked green lentils, 2/3 of the caramelized brown onions and kale to the pot. Stir through.

8. Serve the couscous with extra carmelized onion and toasted pepitas seeds.

*Serve as a main for 3 or as a side for 4

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Eggplants stuffed with Israeli Couscous and Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Yesterday I paid a visit to my favorite vegan cafe in Brisbane, Green Edge. I had a Veggie Burger (best in Brisbane) and a Vegan Brownie with Soy Whip. I also topped up on some grocery supplies, such as Notzarella , Kingland Plain Soy Yogurt, Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh, So Delicious Banana Split Minis and some loose dried legumes. If you are dairy free, gluten free, vegan or vegetarian, you will be able to find a variety of delicious products here, as well as the most delicious ‘I can’t believe its vegan’ Brownies and Cheesecakes. As far as I know this is the only vegan supermarket in Brisbane, so you will fine stuff here that you won’t see in your local health food store.

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After we had lunch at Green Edge, we paid a visit to some family, then came home late. I decided to make Stuffed Eggplants, which I haven’t made before. But I really wanted to use my Notzarella and Israel Couscous. It turned out quite nice. I probably didn’t blanch my eggplants long enough so the bigger ones had a bit of white color in parts of the shells that didn’t soften as well as the rest. I didn’t really think about a side until 5 mins before they were ready so I just made this quick Cucumber Yogurt Salad.

We were still a bit hungry after, so after some left over pizza from last night. We also had to try the So Delicious Banana Split Minis. They were sooo good! With only 100 calories and all natural ingredients they were pretty guilt free.

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Eggplants stuffed with Israeli Couscous (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

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Ingredients:

4 medium eggplants

table salt

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

1/2 red capsicum

2 tomatoes

1 large zucchini

1/2 tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup water

sea salt to taste

1 cup israeli couscous

8 slices vegan mozzarella on top (I used Notzarella)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees???????????????????????????????

2. Cut the eggplants in half and sprinkle table salt the eggplants. Leave for 30 mins, to get out the bitterness. ???????????????????????????????

3. In the mean time cook the Israeli Couscous according to packet instructions, then place to the side after its cooked to cool.

4. Wipe off the moisture and salt from the eggplants. Then cut out the center flesh of the eggplants, leaving the skins of the eggplant intact and in shape. Chop the flesh of the eggplant into cubes.

5. In a large pan or pot of boiling water, blanch the eggplant skins for 5-10 mins, or until the skin goes from purple to brown. Don’t over soften, but try to make sure the inside flesh left on the skins are not white (otherwise those parts won’t be soft after cooking).???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime chop onion, garlic, capsicum, tomatoes and zucchini.

7. Take out the eggplant skins and place on baking paper in a baking tray. Then tip out the water from the large pan/pot.

8. Heat olive oil in the pan then add onion, garlic, capsicum and eggplant. Cook for 5 mins or until softened.

9. Then add tomatoes, zucchini, tomato paste, water, agave, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for a further 5-10 mins or until it becomes a bit saucy. ???????????????????????????????

10. Stir through the Israeli cous cous and cook for a further minute. Then take off the heat.

11. Place these vegetables and couscous from the pan into the eggplant shells. Then top with Notzarella or vegan mozzarella. Bake for 30-40 mins.

Cucumber Yogurt Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

2 shallots

1 tablespoon soy yogurt

1/2 teaspoon agave

squeeze of lemon

sea salt  and black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cut the cucumber finely into slices and chop the shallots.

2. Place soy yogurt, agave, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. Then stir through cucumber and shallots and serve.???????????????????????????????

Cucumber Yogurt Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

2 shallots

1 tablespoon soy yogurt

1/2 teaspoon agave

squeeze of lemon

sea salt  and black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cut the cucumber finely into slices and chop the shallots.

2. Place soy yogurt, agave, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. Then stir through cucumber and shallots and serve.

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