Spring Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Mint

Spring Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Mint

Here's a quick, one-pot meal that makes the most of spring greens: asparagus, two types of sweet pea, and mint all get folded into a delicious dish that pops with the flavors of lemon and feta and the crunch of pumpkin seeds. Serve the dish hot or cold, as a side dish or main dish, and vary the veggies according to the season: make it with tomatoes, corn, and basil in the summer, or with winter squash in cold weather -- just be sure that everything is cooked before you add the couscous, as this is a more-or-less instant grain.

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots (you can use onion instead)
kosher salt
1 bunch asparagus, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup green peas (frozen are fine: thaw them in a sieve under hot running water)
1 cup chicken broth (or one cup water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1 cup couscous
1 cup green, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
The juice and grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 cup crumbled feta


  1. In a medium-sized pan, heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon salt until they are just starting to brown, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add the asparagus, snap peas, and peas, and stir just to coat them with oil, then add the broth, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and leave it undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a very small pan and fry the pumpkin seeds over medium heat, stirring, until browned and popping, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and leave to cool.
  4. Return to the couscous and transfer it to a large bowl, using two forks to separate and fluff the grains. Stir in the herbs, lemon juice and zest, and feta, then taste and re-season, adding more lemon juice, salt, herbs, or a splash of olive oil as necessary.
  5. Finally, stir in the pumpkin seeds and serve.

See all recipes from Catherine Newman's "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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