This ideal side dish, from lifestyle and entertaining expert Mindy Kobrin, is not only sweet and savory, but also filled with nutritious ingredients.
Couscous is low in fat and filled with protein, potassium and the antioxidant selenium. Raisins are fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium and high in fiber. Butternut squash has fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and is low in fat, making it a heart-friendly nutrition powerhouse. For more info, visit MealsOnHeelsByMindy.com.
Prepared in 30 minutes or less
Serves 6 to 8.
2 cups Israeli couscous
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
¼ golden raisins
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water ½ orange, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ lemon zested and juiced
1/4 cup pecans or blanched almonds, toasted
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced squash and curry powder. Sauté until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes. Add cooked squash to a large bowl with the dried fruit. Set aside.
Toast couscous in a large pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Bring water to a boil and pour it over the toasted couscous. Add the orange juice and zest. Stir a few times; reduce heat to simmer. Cover pan tightly and let it stand, giving it a big stir once or twice, until the liquid is completely absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer couscous to large bowl. Allow to cool.
Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add remaining olive oil, scallions, fresh herbs, lemon juice, zest and toasted nuts to the dried fruit and squash mixture. Stir around until everything is distributed evenly throughout the couscous. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over couscous. Gently toss until well-incorporated. Season to taste.
This recipe can be made 2 hours ahead of time. Cover and store at room temperature. Adjust seasonings before serving.
Note: To toast nuts, evenly spread them out on a baking sheet and bake them at 400°F until they turn a shade darker, about 6 to 8 minutes.