Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Basil Roasted Vegetables Over Couscous

Yesterday, I received a book I had ordered at the recommendation of a blog I stumbled upon about Paris.  It is called Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City's 102 Best Restaurants by Alexander Lobrano.  I started reading and couldn't stop.  I am one of those people who is in no rush to order a meal because I love reading the menu.  What is the chef pairing together for Spring?  What course could I most likely reproduce from home?  I love the dialogue between the chef and his or her patrons that exists on a menu card.  However, the more and more I read about dining in Paris, the more I realized I REALLY need to get on the diet train.  I have been exercising more rigidly than I have in years, and while I have been watching what I eat, Mardi Gras certainly wasn't easy on the waistline. 

One of the things I find most challenging about dieting is eating healthy when dining out or attending a party.  The first is hard to control, but the second can be helped if you are asked to bring a dish.  I always try to bring something yummy, but also something I know I can look to as a healthy option when the buffet is filled with brie covered in caramel and dips made with mayo and sour cream.  This couscous recipe (From Cooking Light) is a perfect choice!  It is easy to prepare and can be placed in a 9x13 baking dish which makes it transportable.  It also has the lovely aroma of caramelized vegetables and basil and it is colorful - things that are nice if it presented on a buffet table. 

I have made this dish using traditional couscous, but for those who do not like the texture of couscous, you could try Israeli, or pearl, couscous.  It is larger in size and softer in texture than traditional kind.  It can be hard to find in some grocery chains, but it can be found online here.  If you are carb conscious, it also comes in whole wheat.  Quinoa would also be a great substitute.  

I doubled this recipe for an Easter dinner we had at a friend's house and it worked out just fine.  I added asparagus and cherry tomatoes to the mix of veggies as well.  I also had trouble finding basil flavored goat cheese, so I used plain goat cheese and sprinkled a healthy dose of chopped basil on top.  Low-fat Feta would work too. 

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup vegetables, 3/4 cup couscous, and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese)
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms
3 cups hot cooked couscous
1 (3-ounce) package basil-flavored chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Fresh basil sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and mushrooms; toss well to coat. Arrange vegetables in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally.

Spoon roasted vegetables over couscous, and top with cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs, if desired.
Nutritional Information
Calories:285 (28% from fat)
Fat: 8.9g (sat 3.7g,mono 3.5g,poly 0.7g)

If you have any good tips you use to guide you into healthy food choices when dining out or at a party, I'd love to hear them!


  1. Just stumbled across you blog - it's superb! Love the colors!!! What a great recipe - and I couldn't agree more: eating healthy while dining out is very difficult and takes some planning. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You had me at couscous. Looooooove the couscous! Do you think that if I bought that book for the hubs...it might push him along with planning on whisking me off to Paris? Dare to dream. Ah ha ha

  3. Another great Lenten Friday dinner! I can't wait to give it a try!

  4. That sounds sooo good. It sounds like a really great book.

  5. Yum - I should try this & sub in quinoa. looks like an awesome recipe! I also struggle w/ eating healthy when eating out or eating with friends. It's tough when you have no control over the menu!!

    That looks like an awesome book! One of the best part about Paris is that you will do so much walking, even though you will be eating way more than usual, I doubt you'll gain weight! :)

  6. That looks delish, but I am not a fan of peppers -- any suggestions for some substitutes?



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