Roasted Lemon Chickpeas and Couscous

Let’s talk about lemons. Giant lemons.

One of the nice things about Southern California is the abundance of citrus – abnormally large citrus in this case. Our neighbors brought over a bag of lemons and oranges recently and I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to use this bad boy.

So I put together a Mediterranean inspired dinner last night with lemon at its center.

The other night I talked about millet. Continuing on the subject of wonderful grains, yesterday’s dinner featured couscous. Now I think couscous is actually best for desserts (mmm more on that in another post though), especially this type of couscous, which I oh-so-educatedly refer to as “yellow couscous.”

But you see what I mean – it is yellow:

I love couscous because of how rich and creamy it is – very different than other grains like, say, brown rice (which is good in its own way).

Cooking couscous is pretty simple. For 1 cup of uncooked grain, you need 1.25 cups of water. So for this recipe, I made a half cup of uncooked grain mixed with a half cup of water about a tablespoon of lemon juice. It cooks quickly so keep an eye on it as it comes to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it sit. The remainder of liquid will get absorbed and it will soften just enough. I usually give it a stir before letting it sit so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

While that’s sitting, I got started on the chickpeas.

One can of strained chickpeas goes into a heated pan. It takes about 15-20 minutes for them to properly roast, and I let them sit for a while before shaking. At first, they will still be covered in quite a bit of moisture from the can so you shouldn’t have to watch them too closely. Of course, don’t completely walk away…

Using the other half of the lemon, create the lemon sauce for the roasting.

Combine

* Juice of 1/2 lemon
* 1 TBS olive oil
* 2 TSS basil

Whisk and pour over the chickpeas. I shake them every now and then. You’re looking for some dark crisp edges.

For some vegetables, I made a quick side salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado and some parsley and lemon juice. To tie the parsley in, I stirred a few chopped sprigs in with the resting couscous and over the top of the chickpeas, which had started to brown by the time I finished the salad.

Like so…

Give them a few more minutes and then assemble you plate (bowl for me).

A perfect post-run meal. Yesterday’s evening run was not as great as I had hoped. The first mile honestly felt like I was running my first mile ever ever. I’m not sure why my last two runs have been so tough but all I can think is that my sickness last week took more out of me than I had thought. But I don’t feel like I’m making myself worse by giving it my all so I pushed through and did four miles just like I had planned. Hopefully tomorrow’s evening run goes a little better.

Happy cooking! Have you tried couscous? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

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