I was going through old photos recently and found this:
It’s probably the first dish Cory and I ever made together. During my first trip to San Francisco, we had a picnic at Golden Gate Park. It was a typical San Francisco summer day — 60 degrees, windy, and the sun was nowhere to be seen, but that made no difference to us. Cory had only been living in the city for about three weeks, so everything was new and exciting. We spotted an eagle in a nearby tree, sipped on pomegranate juice, noshed on scones from Trader Joe’s, and shared a delicious couscous and vegetable dish that we prepared together earlier that day. Cory asked me to marry him. In EverQuest (as a joke, of course). It was all very romantic, obviously.
Once I saw the photo, I had a sudden urge to recreate the dish. Our local market sells pearl couscous on the cheap and I’ve been buying it up to use as a base for easy lunches. The key to ensure this dish is a success is to not cook all the vegetables at once. If you do, you’ll end up with sad soggy zucchini. We’ve had a lot of picnic friendly days lately, but have resorted to eating lunch on the deck so this little California girl can join enjoy the sun too:
I don’t remember where we originally found the recipe. AllRecipes, maybe? Just from glancing at the old photo, I think I reproduced the dish fairly accurately, although I would’ve used more curry powder if I hadn’t run out. This is a delicious lunch, perfect for sunny springtime picnics and packed lunches.
Pearl Couscous with Chickpeas and Vegetables
8 ounces of pearl/Israeli couscous, cooked according to package directions
2 cans of 15-oz chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped into bite sized pieces, about 1/3″ thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon curry powder (I only used about 2 teaspoons before running out)
salt & pepper, to tastes
1/2 cup parsley and/or cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cook pearl couscous according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. In a large stockpot, cook oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and jalapeno, then cook until translucent or about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the carrots and stir frequently, for about 3-5 minutes. Then add the red bell pepper. Repeat the same process as before, cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add the zucchini and stir frequently for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and raisins let it cook for about 30 seconds. Now thoroughly mix the curry powder, salt, and pepper into the mix. Incorporate the chickpeas, couscous, herbs, and olive oil into the pot, stir until mixed. You may want to cook the mixture for a few more minutes, to make sure everything is heated through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves about 5