Broccoli Pesto and Cous Cous
With the kind of couscous that's ready in five minutes, an easily steamed vegetable, and some chickpeas that are edible right out of the can, this is truly a meal that can be thrown together in record time.
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- 1 cup couscous, uncooked
- One 15-ounce can of chickpeas
- 3 cups broccoli
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup vegetable stock, plus more if needed
- ½ cup parsley
- ¼ toasted walnuts
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dill
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup crumbled feta, for garnish
Cook the couscous as directed then toss with half a can of chickpeas and set aside. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for no more than 5 minutes, then make the broccoli pesto.
In a food processor, combine the steamed broccoli, olive oil, vegetable stock, parsley, walnuts, salt, dill, cumin, and lemon and pulse until mixture is a smooth purée.
Toss the broccoli pesto with the couscous and chickpeas over very low heat (if too dry, add extra vegetable stock). Top with crumbled feta and serve hot.
Sheet Pan Pesto Chickpeas and Vegetables
This easy vegetarian sheet pan dinner with chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and vegetables served with pesto is the perfect one dish meal for a weeknight meal. Trust me, roasting chickpeas is a game change and makes this simple canned bean taste incredible.
As we continue to incorporate more plant-based and meatless meals into our weekly rotation, this simple roasted chickpea meal has become a staple. It started with whatever random assortment of vegetables and chickpeas I happen to have left in the fridge. However, after weeks of preparing some version of this meal, I have found a favorite. This combination of sweet potatoes, veggies, spices, and pesto is hard to beat.
Since this meal is great for both dinner and leftovers, I normally make a double batch. Serve it on its own or with grains on night one. Then use the leftovers for salads, sandwiches, tacos, scrambles, quesadillas, and more. Trust me - this vegetarian sheet pan meal is so versatile. It's now a staple in our weekly rotation.
Broccoli Pesto Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this broccoli pesto recipe:
- Broccoli, of course! You’ll just use the florets in this recipe. Save the stalk for another use, like making broccoli rice.
- Fresh herbs – Use basil, parsley, or a mix.
- Parmesan cheese – For a vegan variation, substitute nutritional yeast.
- Fresh lemon juice and zest – They make the pesto bright and refreshing.
- Garlic – A pesto essential! It adds sharp depth of flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds richness and brings the sauce together.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Moroccan Couscous with Chickpeas and Peppers
Couscous and chickpeas form the base of this Moroccan vegetarian and vegan pilaf or salad. A hearty variety of spices, including ginger, paprika and allspice, give this Moroccan couscous recipe it's unique flavor, and the lovely textures and flavors of the other ingredients, including sweet potato, zucchini, chickpeas and bell peppers, pine nuts and raisins, balance out the simplicity of the couscous to create a dish that ends up being quite varied and exciting.
Don't be intimidated by the long ingredients list of this couscous dish, as it really is simple to prepare, and many of the ingredients are just spices, some of which are quite common and you likely already have. Plus, the couscous itself takes just minutes to prepare. Feel free to omit one or two of the spices, if don't have them on hand, but the combination of all of them together is really what gives this couscous its unique Moroccan-inspired flavor and fragrance.
If you like Moroccan flavors or couscous dishes, try this easy vegetarian and vegan couscous and chickpea pilaf. This recipe is both vegetarian and vegan, but couscous isn't gluten-free. If you need this recipe to be gluten-free, just swap out the couscous for a gluten-free substitute, such as quinoa or another gluten-free grain if you were looking for a gluten-free vegan version, and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Enjoy!
Super Quick Lemon-Basil Pesto with Salmon, Couscous, and Steamed Broccoli
So I know I haven’t posted in a few weeks but it has been quite busy with exams. Anyway, I found this recipe for lemon-basil pesto a while back and feel in love with it because it was so simple, tasty and versatile.
I prepared this pesto with salmon, broccoli, and couscous, but it really pairs well with many dishes. You could put it on chicken or veggies, or even pasta.
For the pesto you’ll need basil, garlic, a lemon, parmesan cheese, and olive oil (and perhaps a breath mint for later…)
- Cutting board
- Tablespoon Measure
- 1/4 cup measure
- Cheese grater
- Food processor or blender
Unfortunately, making pesto is really difficult if you don’t have something to blend all of the ingredients into a smooth paste. However, a food processor or blender is a really great investment because you can make smoothies or puree soups.
To begin, wash and dry 1 cup of basil. The drying is important because wet basil can add extra moisture to your pesto making it watery and then it would lack “zesto”. Separate the basil from the hard stems. Place in the food processor
Add 2 cloves of garlic. You can add more or less depending on your taste but definitely include some garlic. The recipe is really intended for fresh garlic, so try to pass on the dried stuff (it lacks the depth of fresh garlic)
As you probably know, garlic has a pesky skin that needs to be removed before eating. A great way to get it off quickly is to take the side of your kitchen knife and place it on top of the garlic clove. Apply pressure on the knife, also noting that you need to get a manicure ASAP. You will feel the garlic give a little under the weight of your hand…
The skin will now easily pull away from the clove. Toss into your food processor
Next, you’ll need to get the zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 Tablespoon). This can be done by carefully slicing away the outermost layer of the lemon. A zestor, which is specially made to only take off the very outside skin, makes this much easier, but isn’t necessary.
The trick to zesting is to only scrape off the yellow part. Try to avoid getting the white stuff in your zest (below), that’s the pith and it has a bitter flavor. If this happens, you’ve cut too deeply. If you’re having a difficult time zesting, just substitute the zest for about 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add to your food processor
Next you’ll add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This is about 1/2 of a large lemon. Squeeze into the processor making sure to avoid the seeds
Add 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese. It’s important to grate it before adding it to the food processor so you get a smooth pesto
Pulse the food processor until the mixture is smooth
To the blended mixture, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend again until incorporated.
Place this on everything, your fish, your chicken, your pasta, your dog…
Super Quick Lemon-Basil Pesto
- 1 cup of basil, washed, dried, and separated from the stem
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/4 of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Combine the basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Blend.
- Add the olive oil and puree until smooth and incorporated
I made this pesto with some grilled salmon, steamed broccoli, and couscous which I’ll show you below
For the salmon, I sprinkled the filets with salt and pepper and then grilled them for five minutes on each side until the inside was no longer pink. If you don’t have a grill, you can sear the filets in a skillet using 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for four minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Finish cooking by placing the seared fish (in an oven safe pan or dish) in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet, or until the middle is no longer pink.
You can also use pretty much any other fish or chicken, if you have a preference, but the cooking may vary. The pesto is very versatile.
Boil 1 1/4 cups of water. Add 1 cup of couscous to the boiling water and stir. Remove from the heat. Cover the couscous and let it sit for 5 minutes. If you want, you can add salt to taste and/or 1 tablespoon of butter or oil to couscous. Honestly, I think it is fine without it because most of the time I’m pairing it with another flavor anyway.
After five minutes, remove the cover and fluff the couscous with a fork.
It will be puffy and yummy. If you want, you can even add some of the pesto straight to the couscous.
There are many methods to prepare broccoli, I chose to steam mine by placing 1 lb. of broccoli florets in a large bowl filled with about an inch and a half of water. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and poked a few holes in the top. I, then, microwaved the florets for 4 minutes, or until it was cooked through but still firm and nicely green. Be careful when removing the plastic wrap. The broccoli and stem will be VERY hot.
- 1 Pour the broth into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the couscous, chickpeas, pesto, 2 tablespoons of the basil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and let sit until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- 2 Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Fluff with two forks, sprinkle with the remaining 2 table-spoons basil, and serve right away.
Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries & More by Maria Speck. Text copyright © 2011 by Maria Speck photographs copyright © 2011 by Sara Remington. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
Maria Speck grew up in Greece and Germany before moving to the United States as a young adult. She is a writer and journalist, and has contributed to Gourmet, Saveur, and Gastronomica, as well as Marie Claire and Elle. Her popular cooking classes in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focus on the flavors and cooking styles of the Mediterranean and on creating innovative and delicious meals with whole grains.
The best chickpea pasta
Once the pesto is ready, you simply toss it with warm chickpea pasta. I love bean based pastas because they are a good source of protein and fiber.
Chickpea pasta in particular, has a neutral flavor and pleasant bite that mimics regular pasta better than most of the other pasta alternatives I&rsquove tried. Use any brand you like and can find.
I&rsquove had a good experience with the Barilla brand but still can&rsquot find all of the shapes in my supermarket. That&rsquos a #FirstWorldProblem if ever there was one &ndash I know.
Anyway&hellip once the pesto is done, the pasta boiled, and the nuts toasted, you stir it all together.
Serve it up as is, or add cooked chickpeas to the top for a hearty meal.
Because the pasta already has chickpeas, adding them is optional. But they add a nice bite and help make the meal feel more complete.
Dig in! If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram or let me know below. Enjoy!
Our Best Couscous Recipes
Couscous is one of those ingredients to keep stocked in your pantry. It’s a form of pasta (so it’s hearty and satisfying) and cooks up in a flash. It’s also incredibly versatile it can be used just like some of your favorite grains. From breakfast bowls to family-friendly dinners, a little couscous always comes in handy!
Photo By: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.
Photo By: Quentin Bacon ©Quentin Bacon
Photo By: Min Kwon ©2015,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
©marcus nilsson, Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop stylist: Robyn Glaser
Ina adds great flavor and texture to her couscous with sweet currants and crunchy, buttery pignoli nuts.
Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers
Stuff couscous and beef into sweet bell peppers for a nutritious protein-packed meal. The bold colors of the antioxidant-packed bell peppers aren't just for decoration-the more bright colors you can pile onto your plate, the healthier your meal will be.
Pearl Couscous with Tomato Sauce
Al dente pearl couscous (which is made from the same ingredients as pasta) is right at home with a quick-and-simple tomato sauce. Top with fresh parsley for a crowd-pleasing side in just 20 minutes.
Couscous isn&rsquot a grain, as some people may think &mdash it's actually a type of pasta made from durum wheat and shaped like a grain. The couscous you have in your pantry is most likely instant couscous that's been steamed and dried so it cooks very quickly, for a fast and easy side dish or base for a salad or bowl. Look for whole-wheat couscous in your supermarket it cooks in the same time as the regular variety and has all the virtues of whole wheat pasta. This recipe makes a big batch for make-ahead meal prep but is easily halved.
Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous
Looking for a way to switch up your classic chicken and rice? Try pairing your poultry with couscous instead. Anne makes hers with plenty of aromatic ingredients (like garlic, onion, saffron, thyme and citrus) for a dish that will have everyone running to the table.
Couscous with Carrots and Currants
Finish this light and delicious side dish simply &mdash with a bright pop of cilantro and mint.
Saffron, Zucchini and Herb Couscous
Ina&rsquos easy couscous gets its lovely golden color (and delicious sweet-and-savory flavor) from the addition of saffron. Tender, browned zucchini and fresh herbs are the perfect way to round out the flavors and add a nice pop of color.
Scampi on Couscous
This 5-star recipe has rave reviews from Food Network fans who say that it&rsquos &ldquo a keeper&rdquo that will please even the pickiest of eaters.
Grilled Vegetable Couscous
A simple way to add tons of flavor to plain couscous? Stir in grilled leeks and mushrooms &mdash and top everything off with nutty, toasted almonds.
This simple, 20-minute side has the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors thanks to cauliflower, cinnamon and dates.
Curried Roasted Vegetable and Couscous Salad
Couscous is a fantastic way to bulk up any green salad. Here, we&rsquore combining it with curried, roasted vegetables and an easy-to-make yogurt-lime dressing for a meal you'll eat again and again.
Quick-cooking couscous makes fast work of dinner. This simple, delicious side is ready in just 20 minutes.
Strawberry Couscous Breakfast Bowl
While oats are often the first choice for a healthy breakfast, utilizing other whole grains like couscous, millet, amaranth, farro and quinoa keep mornings from becoming mundane. Make a batch of couscous the night before, so that come morning, all you have to do is add toppings like fruits, nuts, coconut and flax seed for a 5-minute healthy breakfast.
Israeli couscous is made with wheat just like other varieties but its larger, pearl-like pieces mean that it has a nice, chewy texture when cooked.
Israeli Couscous with Squash
When the weather gets chilly, there&rsquos nothing more satisfying than this hearty dish, made with chewy Israeli couscous and savory-sweet butternut squash.
This couscous gets it bold aroma and flavor from a quick, homemade spice blend (that you can make up to 2 weeks in advance). The ingredient list might look daunting, but don&rsquot be intimidated &mdash you&rsquoll find that most of the ingredients are already in your pantry.
Moroccan Seafood Stew with Couscous
Couscous cooks up in almost no time at all, making it the perfect base for quick meals. Here, we pair it with equally as speedy shrimp and mussels for a flavorful bowl of seafood stew.
Toasted Couscous Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing
A quick homemade buttermilk substitute gives a great tangy flavor to this salad with fresh broccoli and toasty couscous.
Cherry Couscous Pudding
A sweet take on a typically savory dish. Instead of broth, cook your couscous in a combo of skim and almond milk &mdash and add dried cherries and a cinnamon stick for extra flavor. Don&rsquot forget to fluff it up!
Israeli Couscous with Parmesan
This 15-minute dish makes a fantastic side or vegetarian main. Chopped pistachios add buttery flavor and a nice crunch &mdash and are the perfect source of plant-based protein.
Spiced Couscous and Chicken
Weeknight dinners are easy when you start with couscous. Make it the base of your bowl and top with protein and veggies for a complete meal.
Moroccan-Spiced Couscous with Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs get a filling and flavorful makeover with the addition of savory couscous and a refreshing cucumber salad. Perfect for brunch or breakfast-for-dinner-inspired meals.
About the pesto:
One of my favorite items to play around with is the concept of pesto. A few herbs, some cheese, garlic, and lemon juice. It’s simple but the possibilities are endless. This broccoli version is a favorite of mine in the cooler months, especially when basil isn’t in season and it can get quite expensive at the store.
How else to use it
This pesto version can be used in all the same ways traditional pesto is used. Slather it on grilled cheese sandwiches. Use on grain bowls. Or, try it in one of my favorite’s, a broccoli melt.
Swaps you can make
Of course, you don’t have to use broccoli. I also love to make a similar pesto using hearty greens such as kale or chard. You could also add nuts, such as pine nuts (traditional), almonds, or walnuts (a good choice with the broccoli!)
Tips For Making The Best Couscous Pilaf
- If you want to add a nice toasty crunch, toasted pine nuts or almonds sprinkled on top are an unexpected but delicious addition.
- If you can’t find Israeli (pearl) couscous any other kind is fine! Although this variety gives the dish a great chew.
- Any and all mushrooms will do today, from cremini to button, portobello to shiitake. All are delicious and savory so feel free to mix and match.