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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Middle eastern "couscous"

I really need a camera. Food doesn't sound nearly as tempting without a tantalizing picture in front of your face.

Sunday night's dinner was a very tasty delicious vegetarian soup. It was very cheap as well as quite healthy.
Usually when one makes broth, it is with an animal product base, like chicken broth, beef broth, or fish broth, as these animal products add a rich flavor to the broth. When making vegetarian soups, I usually am tempted to add some oomph to the broth using an MSG free soup mix but I am trying to cut back on processed foods both for cost and for health reasons. (Even MSG free, the preservatives and additives in foods- soup mix is no exception- have been giving me headaches.)

In the middle east, there is a popular dish called couscous. No, not the stuff sold in western countries, the tiny "pasta" made from semolina. Middle eastern couscous is a whole meal that incorporates the couscous "pasta" into a one course meal. The couscous is usually served with a chicken, vegetable and chickpea broth with turmeric seasoning. While a fine dish in its own right, some do not eat meat every day, either for health reasons, moral reasons, financial reasons, or otherwise.

I made this recipe for vegetarian middle eastern couscous, msg free, soup mix free, and pretty much processed food free.

Take 1 lb of couscous and prepare it according to package directions. When adding the hot water, add 1 tsp of turmeric and 1 tsp salt.
Ok, so couscous is a little bit processed. You can make your own couscous from scratch, but when I tried making it that way it came out more like cream of wheat. I don't mind buying the instant couscous as it doesn't really contain any bad ingredients.

Then take some cooked chickpeas (either dry beans that you boiled until soft, or you can use canned chickpeas). Put them in a pot and add 4 peeled carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks, 2 zucchinis, cut into 2 inch chunks, 1 onion, peeled and quartered, and a 3 inch by 3 inch piece of pumpkin, cut into smaller chunks.
Boil these until they are all soft. Add 2 tablespoons of brewer's yeast and salt to taste.
Serve over the prepared couscous.


Brewer's yeast can be found for quite cheap on Amazon.



Brewer's yeast is jam packed with nutrition.  In the two tablespoons you add to the soup, you've got protein, folic acid, the B vitamins, fiber, niacin, biotin, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, chromium, potassium... etc...
Imagine missing out on all that nutrition, just because you put soup mix into the soup instead of brewer's yeast.

Other benefits of brewer's yeast- it lowers LDL cholesterol, helps regulate sugar metabolism, can help with contact dermatitis, etc...

And the turmeric? Another powerful spice. Its an anti-inflammatory. Helps with inflammatory bowel disease. Hepatitis. Bruises. Colic. Spasmodic dysmenorrhea. Its an astringent and used to heal ulcers and hemorrhages. It has antiseptic properties. Can help prevent Alzheimers. See here for more info about Turmeric's medicinal properties.
 

And my husband said it tasted exactly like soup mix, flavorful, and delicious. Score!

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