Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tweak Cooking

the cast of characters

I love to take recipes and tweak them. Sometimes, it's out of necessity -- maybe I don't have all the ingredients the recipe calls for -- sometimes, it's out of sheer laziness. I admit I don't relish going to the grocery store, and I pride myself in stretching out the need to make a trip to the supermarket. And lately, I've been playing a game with myself called Use It Up. I want to make use of everything in my pantry and fridge and waste nothing.

I'm experimenting with using grains and vegetables to make tasty combinations that work as accompaniments to proteins at dinner, as stand-alones for a great lunch, or even a hearty and savory way to start the day as a breakfast.

Today, I made Couscous with Chickpeas and Carrots. True, couscous is not actually a grain; it's a tiny pasta. I love it because it's so quick to cook and can be combined with just about anything. It's easy to carry to work to either heat up or eat cold for lunch, and I think kids like it.

Tweaked Couscous With Chickpeas & Carrots

1-1/2 cups organic chicken broth (to make this recipe vegan, use water or vegetable stock)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 peeled & sliced carrot
1 15-oz. can of chick peas (ceci), drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 cup couscous
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or more, for serving

Makes about 4 servings.
Bring the broth and olive oil to boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the carrot slices and chickpeas and simmer for a couple of minutes, just to make the carrots crisp-tender. Stir in the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes, while the couscous absorbs all the liquid. Using a fork, toss the couscous mixture to fluff it up. Stir in the almonds and parsley. Add a bit more salt, if you need to, and be generous with the pepper.

let the chickpeas and carrots simmer in the broth before adding the couscous

fit for breakfast, a quick lunch or part of a great dinner

You can use sliced celery, leftover peas, or any vegetable you might have on hand. If you are using broccoli, toss it in at the end after the couscous is cooked.


  1. Ooh, it looks yummy! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  2. I love it. I am a tweaker too! My husband gets totally freaked out, but it almost always turns out really well. This looks delicious. -e

  3. what's the fun of cooking if you can't tweak the recipe! and, my husband ate the rest of it, so if i want more i have to make another batch!