This straightforward vegan dish gets much more interesting with the addition of Middle Eastern spices. We used za'atar, which is a blend of dried wild oregano and other herbs including hyssop, thyme and sometimes sumac. It's available at Middle Eastern markets. (And if you go, pick up a jar of silan, or date syrup. You'll be happy to drizzle it over dishes both savory and sweet, as we have done here for the accompanying photo.)
Serve with warm pita bread. If you're not vegan, try this dish with a dollop of good-quality labneh (a soft yogurt cheese; see this week's Say Cheese blogpost on All We Can Eat to make your own) and some extra za'atar for sprinkling.
- 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (may substitute water)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup quick-cooking whole-wheat couscous
- 1 medium onion
- 2 small (about 8 ounces total) zucchini
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 15 ounces canned no-salt-added chickpeas, such as Eden brand
- About 15 grape tomatoes
- Leaves from 1 small bunch mint, plus leaves from 4 to 6 stems flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon za'atar, plus more to taste (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano; see headnote)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine 1 1/2 cups of the broth, 1 teaspoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the couscous and stir to moisten. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 7 minutes (or longer) while you prepare the vegetables.
Finely chop the onion to yield 1 cup. Trim the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin slices to yield about 2 3/4 cups. Mince the garlic to yield about 2 teaspoons. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Cut the grape tomatoes in half to yield 1 cup. Finely chop the mint and flat-leaf parsley to yield about 3/4 cup.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic and za'atar; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.
Add the chickpeas, zucchini, the remaining 1/4 cup broth, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Remove from the heat and lightly mash some of the chickpeas to create more texture, then add the tomatoes, mint and parsley, tossing to incorporate. Taste and add za'atar as needed.
Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls. Divide equal amounts of the chickpea-zucchini mixture over the couscous. Serve hot.
Based on a recipe from Donna Klein's "Supermarket Vegan" (Penguin, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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