Friday, January 6, 2012

Detox January, Week 1: Fruity Israeli couscous

Fruity Israeli couscous with chicken
Detox January does not, I repeat, does not involve eating miniscule portions of carboard and kale.

Well, we eat kale but usually with some kind of snappy salad dressing, rather than cardboard.

Really, I'm just trying to point out that you don't have to go on a hardcore diet or cleanse to eat a little better and be a little healthier to feel a little better, which is the goal of Detox January.

(Sidebar: What the hell is up with the cleanse craze right now? It's like the hair shirt of eating. I mean, doing penance for a few weeks is not going to help you get healthier in the long run. As Jason Gay wrote in his recent humorous article in the Wall Street Journal, "There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.")

Enter this lovely pasta dish, which started out life as a side dish (perfect with roast chicken or pork tenderloin) but makes a wicked awesome main with the addition of some cooked chicken or turkey.

If you've never had Israeli couscous, you need to try it. It's not really couscous at all but a tiny round pasta that cooks up light and fluffy, very quickly.

Feel free to get creative with this dish, based on whatever you have on hand. Try substituting other dried fruits: I bet apples and prunes would be lovely. Leave out the onion and add a handful of herbs: lush. Or how about chopping up some fresh spinach and tossing it in just before serving, along with some chopped walnuts?

That's practically a salad cleanse!

Fruity Israeli Couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 - 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries, cherries and apricots)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon (you will need 1 tablespoon of juice)
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
3 tablespoons sliced green onion

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and saute for one minute (this makes it all nice and toasty). Add the water, dried fruit and salt; stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 9-10 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the onion, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, zest and chicken, if using. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

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  1. I love that you turned this into a main dish!

  2. This looks delicious! I'm huge fan of sweet and savoury, so I'm totally into the cranberries and apricots.

  3. If you try it, Kyleeen, come back and let me know what you think!

  4. Zowee, that's making me drool. I might just have to try that one.

  5. Once we discovered Israeli couscous, we can't get enough---in any recipe! Even by itself, it is a bit like a quick-cook risotto.

  6. Thanks for introducting me to Israeli cousous, Ninj. I made this dish and just love it! I used half regular and half whole wheat, and it was very easy. I'm sure I'll be making this again. This would be a very simple way to use up some leftover veggies, too, I'll bet.