Generally those of us with multiple food allergies can rely on very little in the way of packaged or convenience foods. Given that both Denise and I also work full-time, sometimes feeding oneself on a serious time budget becomes, well, problematic. When I still ate wheat, couscous was something I always had on hand because it cooked quickly and was a good neutral base for an easy saute of whatever was in the fridge at the time. I operated on the easy model of “beans, greens, and grain.”
This is a version of that — using a Lundberg brown rice couscous with roasted garlic flavor as the “grain” base for a nice stir fry of Swiss chard from my friend Mary’s garden. Add in a leftover sweet potato and a caramelized Vidalia onion and I had a good dinner with three lunch portions leftover. Add a can of white beans or some leftover meat for a protein boost, serve this as a side dish, or think up your own variation — this is more of a formula than a recipe, really, and one I honestly repeat over and over throughout the year for easy weeknight meals.
Gluten-free Veggie Couscous Bowl
Makes 4 servings
- 1 large Vidalia onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1 Tablespoon some form of fat
- I box Lundberg brown rice couscous
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard, washed, rolled, sliced, and then chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 sweet potato, cooked
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt shortening/butter/margarine/bacon fat/olive oil in large skillet over medium low heat. When sizzling hot, add onions. Stir thoroughly to coat with oils, and cook low and slow until well-browned, about 45 minutes or so. Stir occasionally.
If you need to cook the sweet potato, throw it in the oven at 375F after washing it and poking vent holes in the skin. I’d personally suggest making more than one and use the leftovers in another dish later in the week.
In a separate stockpot, bring water to a boil as directed on the box of the couscous. When the water is boiling, add the seasonings (if you can have them) and the couscous. Cover, reduce heat, and set the timer — again, basically follow the directions on the box, omitting the seasoning if you cannot have them.
While these things cook, wash and drain the chard leaves. Chop off the stems. Slice these thinly like celery and set aside. Stack the leaves, and then roll them up tightly to slice thinly to create small ribbons of chard. Cut lengthwise along the leaves next, to make the ribbons shorter.
When the onions are finished cooking, remove them from the skillet. Add a tiny amount of olive oil to the fat left in the pan, if needed, and then add the garlic and chard in quick succession. Stir thoroughly, and cook until the chard is fully wilted (4-8 minutes).
In a large serving bowl, mix all ingredients — couscous, chard, sweet potato, and onion. Taste, and then season appropriately with salt and pepper.