Friday, February 27, 2009

healthy enough for team fit...and good, too!

since i coach college cheerleading, i'm part of the athletic department at the university. i was invited to join the fitness challenge (as part of a department initiative) and am on team fit #1. (yes! we're winning already!) each week we have to commit to 3 20-minute workouts and 2 smart choices. i figure if you aren't already doing should be. in addition to the work, we get together each week for a lunch. the members of each team bring in healthy foods (1 team per week) and we all eat together and rationalize that dark chocolate oatmeal raspberry bars are a smart choice...check!

it was a TINY piece of butter...promise

team #1 was up first a few weeks ago and i offered to bring something that included my favorite things: israeli couscous (a new love/obsession of mine), grilled veggies, and cheese. for once, i can claim this recipe as totally mine. and yes, even health food can have butter. it makes a world of difference in flavor and in moderation, is fine!

grilled vegetable and israeli couscous salad
1 1/3 c israeli couscous
1 3/4 c vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tbsp butter (yes, use butter!)
1/4 c pine nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
vegetables of your choice (zucchini, bell peppers, cremini mushrooms, asparagus all work well)
cherry or grape tomatoes
zest of 1 lemon
iberico cheese, cubed

1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1-2 cloves minced garlic
chopped parsley, basil and rosemary (I used fresh parsley and dried basil/rosemary)
salt and pepper

1. slightly brown the butter in sauce pot and toast pine nuts until golden, remove and reserve on a plate
2. in same pan, add 1 tbsp oil and the couscous, toast until golden (about 5 minutes)
3. add broth to pan, bring to a boil and stir
4. reduce heat, cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed (10-12 minutes)
*this couscous tends to stick to my pans, so i stir every once in while
5. chop vegetables into medium/bite sized pieces and generously salt and pepper them
6. on a grill pan (or sauté could work), cook until veggies are slighted softened and have grill marks
7. whisk dressing ingredients, adjust for taste
8. in a large bowl, combine grilled veggies with dressing, allow to sit for 20 minutes
9. stir in cooled couscous, pine nuts, tomatoes, lemon zest, and cubed cheese
*if you make this ahead, i would leave out the cheese until right before serving time

small presentation plate for husband

as i expected, i loved this salad. i eat something like this about once a week (usually warm, though). i keep a well stocked pantry of couscous, jars of artichokes and roasted peppers, canned tomatoes, and pine nuts and prepare a one pot dinner when i just can't come up with anything more creative. with the grilled fresh vegetables, cheese, and whole tomatoes, this was a welcome change. you could definitely use a pasta or smaller couscous, but i am partial to the israeli style because it's hearty and fun to eat.

this was also a hit at the athletic lunch. i got lots of questions about it and even shared a little info about my blog. i hope some colleagues stop by for the recipe so they can make this again!

go team #1!!


Caren said...

Thanks for your lovely vingarette recipe. It made my salad!

Megan said...

Loved this recipe - it was the first time I had tried the larger couscous - came out very good. At first I thought it was undercooked - so I added more broth and kept cooking it. Then it got sticky - so an easy fix for that is to rinse it, and then drain it well.