Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Veggies

It’s our second anniversary! Yay, we’re toddlers! It’s been two years since Ann, the hardworking, dedicated, passionate chefsordinaire at Grubbs n Critters, and I, started our Monthly Mystery Munchies, and it’s been an awesome experience. It’s been challenging, exciting, interesting, but, most of all, it’s been a hugely rewarding and positive experience. Ann, thank you for your commitment, enthusiasm, patience and friendship! Here’s to another two years!

This month, the theme was simple: green, yellow and red. That was it. I loved the simplicity of it, but also the wide range. I mean, anything goes, as long as it’s those colours. That’s the fun thing – we could make a meat dish, veggie dish, side dish, main dish, dessert, baked dish, anything! Absolutely anything! And how fun when I made a cold couscous salad, and Ann made a swiss roll! It’s all open to interpretation, which makes it curious and fun!

I chose couscous salad with baby tomatoes, red onions, a trio of peppers, olives and chickpeas. I serve this salad as a main course, and when I say it’s ridiculously easy, I’m not joking. There’s no cooking involved, except for preparing the couscous. That’s it. The whole thing literally takes five minutes – wash and slice the veggies while the couscous is standing in hot water. Mix together. Top with chickpeas. Done.

Ann made a giraffe-inspired Swiss roll and it looks delicious AF. I basically produced a five-minute dish, and she totally pushed the boat out! She added peaches as her ‘yellow’, but the kids weren’t feeling the vibe. I personally think it’s a great addition! Aaand she used red velvet colouring as the base, and stuffed it with so much yesssness (that’s a word, I promise! (I’m looking at you, mascarpone cheese!) The result? Well, check it out for yourself. (It does not disappoint!)

So, if you’re into raw, fresh ingredients, and you don’t have much time to prepare dinner, this is your guy. You can serve this as a side dish, which works well too. No fuss, no missioning, just easy, quick food. YES! However, if you’re looking for a Swiss roll stuffed with all things cream, Ann’s recipe is the way to go.

Couscous salad with fresh veggies

  • Time: Literally 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: My 5 year old niece could ace this
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Supplies:

2 cups cooked couscous (soaked in water and chicken stock)
500g halved baby tomatoes
1 sliced red, yellow and green pepper
1 sliced red onion
Kalamata olives
30g crumbled feta
1 drained tin chickpeas

Making it Happen:

Cook the couscous per package instructions but add chicken stock to the water.
While the chicken stock is soaking, slice the veggies.
Add the chicken stock to a large dish, then add veggies and the drained chickpeas.
Crumble with feta and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Crazy About… Sautéed Lentils

Lentils veg 7Easy! Tasty! Healthy! Check, check, check. I do enjoy a culinary trifecta! This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to cook (it takes me longer to put my face on), it’s packed with flavour, it’s low-carb and low-fat, and can be served as a side dish or a main meal. Last night we had it with honey and mustard chicken breasts, and this afternoon I had it alone for lunch. It was delish as both. Here we go…

Sautéed lentils

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: Less than 15 minutes (no, really)
  • Difficulty: super duper easy
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Supplies:

500g lentils, cooked
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
500g baby tomatoes, halved
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil

Making It Happen:

Lentils veg 81. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic on medium for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sliced peppers, and rosemary and simmer for another 5 minutes.

 

 

Lentils veg 6 12. Add the lentils and lemon juice, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

 

Roast Vegetables with Quinoa

Quinoa veggies 7Thank you, Joaquin Phoenix. Why, you ask? When I initially read about quinoa, the only way I could remember the correct pronunciation was by saying this sentence: would Wah-keen like some keen-wah? See? It works! So, thank you Mr Phoenix, brilliant actor and moderately strange human being-slash-space cadet, for preventing major embarrassment when talking to my friends about this super healthy grain seed!

In my attempt to eat more vegetarian dishes, I discovered the deliciousness of roasting peppers, onion, baby tomatoes and carrots, and adding it to sautéed whole tomatoes and beans. This meal is protein-rich, full of goodness, and drenched in yumminess.

Roast Vegetables with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 35 minutes total
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Quinoa roast veg 11 yellow, red & green pepper, halved lengthways and deseeded
1 red onion, halved
250g baby tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled & halved lengthways
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 tin red kidney beans, drained
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 heaped teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon Greek pesto
1 cup vegetable stock
½ cup quinoa
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 handful Italian parsley
Olive oil
Salt

Making it happen:

Quinoa roast veg 21. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Grill the peppers (skin side up), onion, baby tomatoes and carrots for 15-20 minutes until the peppers have blackened. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.

 

 

Quinoa roast veg102. While the roasted veggies are cooling, drizzle the olive oil (just enough to cover the surface) into a large pan over medium heat and pour in the drained red kidney beans and tinned tomatoes. Add the celery, paprika, garlic, lemon juice and Greek pesto, and simmer.

 

Quinoa roast veg 33. While the above is simmering, peel and slice the peppers and slice the carrots, adding them to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.

 

 

Quinoa roast veg 54. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold water. Pour the vegetable stock and quinoa into the pan, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is cooked.

 

Quinoa roast veg 65. Garnish with Italian parsley.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille 5This traditional French vegetarian dish is not only bursting with flavour, but healthy and easy too. Traditionally, all the vegetables were cooked separately, but nowadays they’re all done in one pan. Ratatouille can be served as a side dish with rice and meat, making it a firm favourite in this home. I use baby tomatoes for their sweetness, but you can use regular tomatoes too. The vegetables are sautéed together, bringing all of the wonderful different flavours to one dish, and the herbs emphasizing its freshness. The olive oil is not only used as a lubricant, but for its flavour. Everything in this dish is fresh, wholesome and delicious!

As a side note: I planned this post before the attacks in Paris. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these atrocities.

Ratatouille

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Ratatouille 101 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 aubergines (egg plants), cut into half-inch slices
6 zucchinis (courgettes/baby marrows), sliced lengthways and then crossways
2 assorted bell peppers (I used red & yellow), sliced
500g baby tomatoes, halved
1 x tin whole peeled tomatoes
Fresh basil
Fresh lemon thyme (you can use regular thyme too)
Flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Ratatouille 61. In a large pan on medium heat, pour in half the olive oil and fry the garlic, onions and peppers for 2 minutes, then turn down the heat to low and sauté until the veggies have softened and the onions are lightly browned, about 5 additional minutes.

 

Ratatouille 72. Add the aubergines (egg plants) and zucchinis (courgettes/baby marrows), drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the veggies and saute with the lid on for 5 minutes.

 

 

Ratatouille 83. Add the baby tomatoes and tinned tomatoes, 5 basil leaves, a handful of Italian parsley and fresh thyme, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes until the veggies are sticky and sweet. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

 

Ratatouille 9