Couscous and I did not get along when I was a child. I think I regarded it as a poor substitute for white rice, which I loved. It wasn’t until sometime in college that I realized that couscous was actually pretty great in its own right, and—the best part for a student pressed for time—it cooks a lot more quickly than rice!
This dish is an adaptation of a recipe we tried out at our recent cooking class date night. A colorful mixture of sweet and savory, this pilaf is a perfect side dish for fall! Cranberries and sweet potatoes are quintessentially autumnal, and navel oranges (my favorite variety) are starting to come into season by mid/late fall. I highly recommend Trader Joe’s whole wheat couscous for this dish because I think it adds a nice subtle nutty flavor – feel free to use whatever type of couscous you like, though!
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 small orange (zest and juice)
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Be careful not to let these burn! Remove from oven and turn oven up to 400 degrees.
- Toss sweet potato cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned in places and easily pierced with a fork.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Let sit 5-10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, green onions, cranberries, honey (or agave), and orange zest and juice.
- Add roasted sweet potatoes to couscous and pour contents of mixing bowl over couscous. Toss to combine. Top with toasted pecans and serve.
- Update (11/9/14): The original recipe from Ann Arbor Cooks (now closed, sadly) used quinoa in place of couscous. Just replace the 1 cup of couscous with 1 cup of quinoa, and cook according to the directions on the package.