Thursday, May 5, 2011

Brown Rice Couscous with Chickpeas, Cucumbers and Feta

Some time ago, I bought a box of roasted brown rice couscous on sale at Whole Foods. I'd never seen it before and it seemed like a great chance to try a new whole grain. This recipe would work equally as well with whole wheat couscous or brown rice, so feel free to substitute those more readily available whole grains if you can't find brown rice couscous. The roasted flavor really adds and extra dimension of flavor to the rice/couscous, and is well worth a try if you can find it. Luckily for me, I had a host of ingredients in the pantry and fridge to make a Mediterranean inspired dish with this newly discovered grain. Although cooking with dried beans is ideal, you can't beat the convenience of canned beans when short of time trying to make a nutritious dinner. The feta cheese provides saltiness and richness and the chickpeas are a hearty and satisfying protein, but the cucumber, parsley, and lemon juice keep the dish light and refreshing. In addition to making a great, quick weeknight dinner, leftovers are great to pack for the lunch the following day.

Brown Rice Couscous with Chickpeas, Cucumbers and Feta
serves 4 to 6

One 1-ounce box brown rice couscous
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1. Cook the brown rice couscous according to the package directions. Meanwhile, to make the vinaigrette whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and coriander in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Once the couscous is cooked, add the the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss well to even coat the couscous with the vinaigrette. Add the chickpeas, cucumber, feta and parsley and mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

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