Saffron Zucchini Couscous

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

The recipe came from my sister Rachael. I don’t remember when she first made it, but she seemed pretty excited to share it with us, since I don’t think she gets many requests for it.

The Journey:

This is something we make a *lot*. In fact, going out on a limb here, I’m going to guess we make it more than Rachael does.

If you follow along on these First Friday Food posts, you’ll notice the major theme is that this is both healthy and easy to make.

The interesting thing is that it uses saffron. If you’re unfamiliar, saffron looks like tiny red threads and is ridiculously expensive. In fact, by weight, it’s one of the most expensive spices in the world. I’ve heard this is because each flower produces only one thread, and it must be harvested by hand. Luckily, you only need to use very little.

The major change that we made to Rachael’s original recipe was to add chickpeas. I guess you could consider them optional, but I think they’re perfect. They add some good texture and stretch it a little bit, without adding any extra work.

The Verdict:

Scrumdiddlyumptious. You can eat it hot, you can eat it cold (one time I ate it so cold it had icicles in it, but I probably wouldn’t recommend that). You can eat it immediately, or make it in advance. You can take it as a dish to pass and even the kids will eat it. What’s not to love?

The Recipe:

Recipe courtesy my sister.

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 cup chopped parsley leaves
  1. Bring stock to boil, and turn off heat.
  2. Add spices and steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat butter in frying pan. Saute zucchini for 5 mins.
  4. Bring stock to boil again.
  5. Place couscous in bowl and add zucchini and chickpeas. Pour hot stock over this, and cover tightly.
  6. Stand for 15 minutes.
  7. Add basil and parsley, and toss with fork. Serve warm or room temperature.