Remember the 'big catering' event I told you about earlier last week, turns out we ordered way too many cases of grapes than we needed. I am talking ten or more cases which meant grapes for everyone for weeks. I was at a point where I could no longer see grapes but at the same time, I felt bad seeing them slowly dying inside my fridge. So I roasted them with a little bit of olive oil to bring out the sweetness - voila! I don't know what took me so long to roast grapes, the juicy sweetness from it pairs so well with savory foods. Israeli couscous is like a blank canvas and the sweetness from roasted grapes and floral note from rosemary creates a rather unusual but delicious meal (or a side if you like).
If you are not familiar with Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous), they remind me of pasta although they are technically not a grain. Here's a great post dedicated to Israeli couscous if you are interested. I am using a regular Israeli couscous today but there is a whole wheat variety available which is a healthier alternative due to its higher fiber content. Most couscous we buy at the store is already pre-cooked so it takes only 8-10 minutes to cook using a 1:2 ratio of couscous to liquid (water, broth).
While the couscous is cooking, you can roast grapes (you can use any seedless kind) @ 400F for about 15 minutes until it's soft and juicy. I found out roasted grapes pair well with cheese. Have you tried it before?
The recipe takes 30-35 minutes from start to finish and only uses some basic ingredients which is perfect for anyone looking to eat a wholesome, home-cooked dinner or perhaps for lunch the next day as well. While grapes and couscous are cooking, enjoy frying rosemary and cashew together until it's fragrant and slightly browned...because the smell is just heavenly! You see all that golden toppings, that's the best part.
You can eat Israeli Couscous with Roasted Grapes and Rosemary by itself but for a complete meal add protein of your choice and a side salad or veggies. I loved the juicy grapes throughout my plate but if you are a little wary about it, scale it down and use roasted grapes sparingly. Frying rosemary releases so much flavor, please don't skip that process. Cashews added another depth of flavor but I could see pine nuts, almonds, walnuts working beautifully here. Also, did you see nuts on my winter foods list?
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups seedless grapes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter ( if vegan use additional olive oil)
- scant ½ cup cashews, halved
- 2-3 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt, pepper - to taste
- Cook couscous according to the package instructions. I cooked mine by first boiling water and pouring couscous into it. I let it simmer for 8-10 minutes covered. Remove from the heat and keep it aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Drizzle grapes with olive oil and let it roast for 15-20 minutes in a baking tray until it's soft and juicy. Keep it aside.
- While couscous and grapes are being done, heat a pan with 1-2 teaspoon butter. Fry cashews and rosemary until lightly browned and keep it aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining butter and sautee garlic then add couscous. Stir in smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Mix in roasted grapes, cashews, and rosemary until well combined.
- Serve it warm or room temperature.
Have you tried roasted grapes before?