Sunday, August 21, 2011

Veggie Tales

I am, without a doubt, a meat eater. A full fledged, card carrying carnivore.  I once approached a guy in a bar and told him to take me to the meat (which I learned, ladies, is not an altogether horrid pick up line depending on your intentions).  I was not, however, trying to pick anyone up and in my defense, I was at a bbq festival and he appeared to be wearing some sort of V.I.P. all access pass. I thought I had just met my new best friend! Turns out he wasn't a V.I.P and had no more access to the meat than did I (or any other paying customer) but you can't blame a gal for trying!

I tried vegetarianism for a full 9 months when I was younger before falling shamelessly off the chuck wagon and crawling wantonly towards a chuck steak.  It became quite clear - I need meat in my life.  That said, I do love me some veggies and there are many times I enjoy eating vegetarian (even vegan).  It just will never be a way of life for me.  Nor will it be for Doug.  He may be an even more devout meat eater than I which is why I relish the nights he's away, like tonight, to make a hearty vegetarian meal for one.

There's something about summer veggies that makes me giddy.  When I see fresh eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash (just to name a few) my tummy does a happy dance and I know it's going to be a night to go veg! Even better when I can get them from a local farmer's market or my parents' garden.  Yum! I happened upon some beauties the other day and have been thinking about what to do with them since.  I'm still feeling under the weather so I wanted a quick and easy one pot option; maximizing flavor while minimizing time in the kitchen.  A quick saute of my veggies, finish with some couscous and I'm good to go. Quick, delicious and healthy. A few simple changes (noted below) and you can easily take this dish from vegetarian to vegan.

Yields approximately 4 huge 2 cup servings

Cal: 290  Fat: 3g  Carb: 55g  Protein: 10g  Fiber: 7g 

Confetti Couscous

cooking oil spray
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for vegan)
2 tbsp each fresh parsley and basil, rough chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (omit for vegan)

In a large saute pan, heat cooking oil spray and olive oil together over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent.  Add zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, grape tomatoes and mushrooms.

Cook, covered, 8-10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add couscous.  Continue to cook until couscous has absorbed the cooking liquid.  Remove from the heat, stir in fresh herbs and grated cheese.  Top with a pinch more grated cheese and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

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