I love pasta. It's fast. Inexpensive. Easy to make. It's a great main dish or side dish. But best of all, you can dress it up or down any way you want.
While having lunch with my Pookers and grandson, we stumbled upon a pasta side dish served with tacos. It was yummy and light and I knew I could replicate it at home fairly easily. The restaurant version used the large pearl couscous. I wasn't able to find that at my local Sprouts, but the smaller pasta worked just as well.
Couscous are small balls of semolina. You find it frequently in North African cuisines. It cooks quickly and is a nice alternative to rice or other bases for stews and vegetables. The addition of black beans, corn, peppers, cilantro and onions give the couscous a Southwest twist that pairs well with chicken and pork.
It's easy to make and chills quickly. Left overs are even better the next day!
1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed well
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Bring your chicken broth to a boil, stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice and cumin. Add a small amount of salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Place your couscous in a larger bowl and break up any large clumps that may have formed. Add your peppers, onions, corn, cilantro and black beans. *Note- make sure the black beans were drained and rinsed well, otherwise you end up with unappetizingly gray couscous! Drizzle in your dressing, tossing to make sure everything is coated well. If you have any dressing left over, hold on to it to add just before serving time if the couscous has absorbed too much.