While I really enjoyed the product from the July 2007 issue of Shape magazine’s vegetarian recipe of the month, I really hated the name. Vegetable chickpea couscous? That’s not an entree name, that’s just a list of ingredients in the dish, and not in a descriptive way that indicates anything about the flavor, preparation, or presentation of the dish. And after seeing the new Disney film Ratatouille, I realized how much this vegetable stew reminds me of the Provencal dish, except with middleeastern spices. Yes, the name Middleeastern Ratatouille seems much more appropriate (over couscous, of course).
1 box whole wheat couscous prepared according to package directions
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small carrots, cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1 sweet bell pepper (I used yellow for color, but red or orange works too), cut into small, bite sized pieces
2 zucchinis, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1-14 oz can vegetable broth
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the spices (coriander, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper) and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high. Saute carrots, zucchini, and bell pepper for about 5 minutes or until tender, adding a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper for flavor. Add tomatoes and chickpeas and spices. Cook for 5 more minutes.
Pour in vegetable broth into skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and liquid is reduced by half.
Serve vegetable stew over whole wheat couscous and top with chopped fresh cilantro.
By the way, the movie Ratatouille was thoroughly enjoyable for a food-loving adult. Though the thought of rats preparing food in a restaurant is still disturbing, no matter how human-like or endearing the movie attempts to make them.