Lemons make everything pop.
The savory Mediterranean flavors of kalamata olives and salty feta combined with vegetables, herbs and whole wheat pearl couscous are a revelation. Or a revolution. Depending on how serious you are about lemons. A revealing lemony revolution, I tell you!
Frankly, this came together in about fifteen minutes. I wanted to use the last of the Israeli/pearl couscous and happened to have the right Mediterranean ingredients on hand. I absolutely love the combination of flavors in this dish: sautéed zucchini, roasted red peppers and then biting kalamatas with that salty, crumbly feta are fantastic on their own. But I really mean it, the addition of fresh lemon juice and zest elevates this dish to a level that might find you dancing around your kitchen as you take numerous bites…
I took a quick peek on Pinterest to see what else people might be adding to their couscous dishes. I knew these were going to be my ingredients but it’s always helpful to see what else people do. And I found most people making this kind of couscous into a crunchy salad dish with cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions, which sounds really good too! But that’s very summery and we’re into November now so cooked it is! But those salad dishes all called for lemon dressings and I thought, I can just add lemon juice and zest as I’m sautéing the vegetables in a bit of olive oil. Why make it more difficult?
1 1/2 C whole wheat Israeli/pearl couscous
2 medium-large zucchini, diced
1 jar of roasted red peppers, julienned
1 dozen fresh kalamata olives
3-4 ounces feta, cubed or crumbled
2 lemons, juiced and the zest of one
fresh herbs, about half a cup
salt and pepper, to taste
generous pinch of herbs de provence
Set the water to boil in a medium-large pot and begin gathering, washing and chopping up the rest of the ingredients. Once the water comes to a boil, add the salt and the couscous. It should take about ten minutes but follow the directions on the particular package, giving it a stir every so often to prevent sticking.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan (large enough to add the cooked couscous) and begin sautéing the zucchini over medium-high heat, about five minutes or until tender. Turn the heat down to low and add the peppers and olives to warm them through.
Shut off the heat and add the cooked couscous to the vegetables and then the lemon juice and zest, feta, fresh herbs and finally the dry spices. Incorporate everything well to get those flavors melding. I used fresh basil because I had a bit leftover from my window garden but parsley or cilantro would be good here. Fresh mint might be fun too! The lemon gives a lot of zingy flavor as does the feta so be careful with the salt. I like to taste it first and then go about adding it along with the pepper.
Just try and eat one bowl, I dare you! Enjoy!