Couscous With Beets, Greens and Garlic Yogurt 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Jul 16, 2014

Grains transform a Greek mezze of beets and their greens into a main-course plate, topped with garlicky yogurt.

Here, the couscous is soaked in cold water and the greens are simply massaged. Store-bought roasted and peeled beets are used (to keep the oven turned off), and the dish is served at room temperature. But you can certainly cook the couscous (or any other grain) by more traditional methods, saute the greens and cook your own beets; serve that version warm.

Make Ahead: The couscous needs at least 45 minutes to absorb the vegetable broth and can soak overnight in the refrigerator, where it can keep for up to 3 days. The massaged greens can be refrigerated for up to 4 or 5 days; don't add the lemon juice until just before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous (may substitute coarse bulgur)
  • 1 cup no-salt-added or homemade vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, beet greens or a combination (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, dill or parsley leaves, or a combination
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup whole-milk Greek-style yogurt (may substitute low-fat or nonfat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound cooked and peeled beets, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, for garnish


Combine the couscous, broth or water and a teaspoon of the oil in a medium bowl. Cover and let sit for at least 45 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight. (If using coarse bulgur, it will be ready after about 90 minutes and can also refrigerate overnight.) When ready to serve, fluff the couscous with a fork.

Strip the greens from their stems; discard the stems or reserve for another use. Rinse and dry the leaves thoroughly, then thinly slice them, transferring them to a mixing bowl as you work.

Pick up the greens by the fistful and squeeze/massage them, repeating until you work your way through the bowlful. Repeat until they turn darker green and silky, a few minutes. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the chopped herbs, the remaining tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and the lemon juice. Taste, and add lemon juice if needed.

Whisk together the yogurt, garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a medium bowl.

Toss the beets with the remaining tablespoon of chopped herbs.

Divide the couscous among individual bowls or plates. Top each portion with, in the following order, the greens, the beets, dollops of the yogurt mixture and a sprinkling of walnuts. Serve right away.

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Recipe Source

Based on a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman in "The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking" (Rodale, 2014).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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