Curried Couscous with Shallots and Winter Greens

Every year, mid January, I start craving summertime food. I long for tomatoes, and watermelons, and sweet peas and I want to grill everything. It’s my mini revolt against the fruit starved winter markets. If you’ve been reading my posts for the past week, you may have noticed my mini rebellion via grilled vegetarian dishes in the dead of winter. This dish nicely satiated my desire for something fresh and summery, and saved me from an always regrettable purchase of grainy out of season tomatoes. Curried couscous with wilted winter greens is a light but filling side dish with bold smoky flavors. It reminds me of summertime barbecues, and makes the most of fresh, beautiful and nutrient packed winter greens.

It’s been a while since I’ve made couscous, and I forgot how quickly it comes together! This dish can be out of your pantry, and on your table in less than 15 minutes. Meals like this save me from takeout. I can make this and eat it in less time than it would take to buy something, and sometimes that’s all it takes. Convenience factor aside, this dish was absolutely delicious. Fluffy whole wheat couscous, delicious greens, and a medley of smoky spices are a perfect counter measure to the winter doldrums.

The cooking method used here for the couscous is smart, simple and makes it absolutely fool proof. The illustrious Barefoot Contessa herself was the source of this simplified technique. Soggy couscous mush no more! Simply add boiling water, remove from heat and cover. It really couldn’t be any easier.

I opted to serve this simple side dish as an accompaniment to the tandoori paneer recipe that I shared a few days ago. The combination was lovely, but the couscous would also pair swimmingly with any grilled or roasted protein of your choosing.


Recipe serves 6. Serving size is 1/6 of the batch (about 3/4 cup)

Calories: 229 – Carbs: 38g – Fat: 6g – Protein: 8g – Sugar: 44g – Fiber: 8g


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 red jalapeno peppers (seeds removed and sliced)
      • If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, leave out the peppers
  • 1 and 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (or other mild curry powder)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely Minced)
  • 1 bunch mustard greens or hearty winter green of your choosing – about 4 cups (cleaned and chopped)
      • It’s going to look like you have too many greens, but fear not – they wilt and reduce by nearly 75%
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water

For Garnish:

  • Fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1 lime cut into wedges (use the same lime from the zest)
  • 1/2 cup cumin smoked Moroccan Olives (Optional)


  • Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or sauce pan
  • Heat a separate pan (choose one with a tight fitting lid)  to medium heat with olive oil.
  • Add shallot and peppers, and saute for 2 minutes, or until shallots begin to soften.
  • Add couscous, garlic and garam masala. Saute briefly to toast spices and couscous.
  • Add salt, lime zest and chopped mustard greens to the mixture and allow the heat to wilt the greens.
  • Remove pan from heat, and gently stir in boiling water
  • Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
      • If you have a light weight lid, you may want to weight it with some cans or something equally heavy to prevent steam from escaping.
  • Lightly fluff with a fork and serve with chopped cilantro and lime wedges

My new kitchen lover, Lady Marmalade, the bright orange french oven makes her internet debut….Oh she’s lovely isn’t she? Yes, I name inanimate objects. Feel free to judge.

We enjoyed this dish warm as a side, but I also ate the leftovers with a dash of olive oil and lemon juice as a cold salad. I couldn’t decide which way I liked it more.


3 thoughts on “Curried Couscous with Shallots and Winter Greens

  1. Pingback: HGT Rewind – January 2012 | Happygoodtime

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