How many nights do you know exactly what you're going to cook for dinner, except for the side dish? You know tonight you're grilling steaks, but aren't quite sure what to make WITH the steaks. You can always whip up some potatoes.....again. Or make a salad.....again. Not that there's anything wrong with potatoes OR salad! I love them both! But, if you're looking to mix things up a bit and make a new side dish this Pearl Couscous with Sautéed Leeks is it!! It's a quick and easy side dish that will literally go with ANYTHING you're cooking! Steak....yep! Chicken....yep! Fish....yep!
CAN YOU MAKE THIS WITH ANY TYPE OF COUSCOUS
YES! This recipe works with all couscous! The only difference is if you're using the finer couscous (also called Moroccan couscous), you don't need to toast it first. The reason you should toast your pearl couscous is to enhance its natural nutty flavor. Moroccan couscous cooks much faster than pearl couscous, so if you're using finer couscous, bring it to boil, then turn off heat and set it aside, covered. After 5 minutes, fluff it with a fork and you're good to go!
My 2 favorite brands of couscous are Bob's Red Mill and Trader Joe's.
HOW TO MAKE THIS COUSCOUS VEGETARIAN
When my husband and I are craving a whole bunch of veggies, one of my favorite things in the whole world to make is a giant couscous bowl topped with roasted veggies.
If you are a super strict vegetarian, you can absolutely make this with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It will absolutely taste delicious!
I highly recommend making CILANTRO DRESSING or THIS BLOW YOUR MIND INSANELY DELICIOUS CREAMY HERB DRESSING to drizzle.....or douse (no judgement either way!) on top of your bowl.
IF YOU HAVE TEENAGERS AND VERY HUNGRY PEOPLE IN YOUR HOUSE
Before becoming an empty nester, my home was filled with children that seemed to be hungry ALL. THE. TIME. And they'd also bring their very hungry friends over for dinner. So I got very used to making a ton of food OR making food from what I had on hand, but making it very filling!
If you know you'll be over run with hungry kids tonight, and have the time to shop, buy 2 rotisserie chickens from Costco. Not only are they incredibly delicious, but they'll save you a ton of time. Not time to run to Costco? I highly recommend using Instacart (nope, not getting paid by them, it's a service I love that saves a ton of time!!).
Take the 2 rotisserie chickens, remove the skin and add the meat (no bones) to the bowl of your stand mixer. YES, your stand mixer. Trust me on this one! Use the paddle attachment, turn your mixer on low and watch the magic happen! It will literally shred your chicken in seconds!! You can also shred the chicken by hand.
Chicken + this pearl couscous with sautéed leeks recipe will fill up the hungriest of children! If you're able to get your family to eat vegetables, scroll on to get inspo for tasty add-ins!
DELICIOUS ADD-INS FOR COUSCOUS
- Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers
- Roasted Carrots
- Tomatoes (cherry or heirloom)
- Roasted Eggplant
- Roasted Zucchini
- Caramelized onions