Tumeric Scented Couscous with Garbanzo Beans and Grilled Zucchini

If you think couscous is too plain, this recipe is for you. The couscous is cooked in a spiced broth and marinated garbanzo beans and zucchini are added for an extra punch.

The original recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine, used quinoa as the grain but I developed this recipe for my friend who does not like quinoa.  You can substitute quinoa, adding the grain to the boiling stock and cooking at a simmer for about 16 minutes.  I use my steam method for couscous but you can also use the traditional soaked method.  I also think Israel couscous would be lovely in this recipe.  You can find this recipe in Ryan’s Bridal Shower Post.  In that version, we also grilled onions with the zucchini and added to them both to the couscous for added flavor.  You can find the blog about this post by clicking here.

Serves 8

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric, divided
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups couscous, I use the bulk variety
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus extra to taste
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra to taste
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini (about 5), trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Place a wire mess strainer over a large pot, being careful that the bottom of the strainer is at least 3 inches from the bottom of the pot.  Add at least an inch of water.

Create a spiced broth by heating a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the cumin, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and the salt; sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add  broth and bring to a boil.  Turn heat off, place in a glass measuring glass and refrigerate.

Wash the couscous in plenty of water and drain in a sieve.  Put in a wide bowl or jelly roll pan and let the grain absorb the moisture for 10 minutes.  Rub the grain between your hands to break up any lumps and to air the grain.  Place the grain into the strainer, sprinkling the grain lightly in layers and not pressing it down.  Do not worry if some of the couscous falls into the water, as it cooks the grains will swell and will no longer fall through the strainer.  Bring the water to a boil and once it begins to steam, continue to cook for 15 minutes, partially covered with a lid so some of the steam can escape.

Turn the couscous back into the bowl or jelly roll pan; sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the cold spiced broth.  Rake the couscous with a serving spoon and when cool enough to handle, rub the grains between the palms of your hand to break up any lumps; separate and air the grains.  Leave the grains for 10 minutes then sprinkle on the remaining spiced broth and let rest until the grains are swollen and tender about 5 more minutes.

Return the couscous to the steamer again layer the grains lightly in the strainer.  Bring water to a boil (making sure you have enough water in the bottom of the pan) and steam, partially covered for 10 more minutes.

Turn out the couscous again and let cool.  Pour about 2 tablespoons oil in your hands; rub and air the couscous once again.  You can prepare the couscous up until this point. 

While letting the couscous cook, combine garbanzo beans and lemon juice in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil; press in garlic and stir to combine. Let marinate at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (medium high heat). Place zucchini on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Toss to coat evenly. 

Place zucchini on grill; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Grill, cut side down until tender-crisp about  1 ½ minutes per side. Transfer to work surface. Cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices. Add zucchini, green onions, and parsley, then garbanzo bean mixture to the oiled couscous. Toss to blend. Season with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice and olive oil to taste.   Can be made ahead, bring to room temperature before serving.

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