I'm not adventurous when it comes to cooked grains for breakfast. We enjoy long-cooked steel cut oats and enjoy an occasional bowl of quinoa or Red River porridge, but even with added dried fruit they seem pretty ordinary. Then I found a recipe that changed my attitude toward the whole cooked cereal breakfast scene. A breakfast tabouli recipe in Robin Asbell's The New Whole Grains Cookbook brought me to my Couscous for Breakfast recipe.
Each month I check out piles of cookbooks from the local library, skimming each table of contents and flipping pages until a title or photo catches my eye. This one stopped me immediately. Sweet Tabouli? a cold salad included in the breakfast section? No, it's not really a salad and that's not the only surprise in this recipe. Asbell used apple juice for the cooking liquid instead of water, and that idea was a winner. A chilled or room-temperature version of the recipe would make a delightful lunch salad, but it's truly special as a warm breakfast treat. Warm or cold, it's delicious and the preparation is so easy it doesn't seem like cooking.
Assemble the 4 main ingredients; measure and chop.
Mix the chopped mint and dried fruit.
Stir couscous into boiling apple juice; cover and steam.
Add the now-cooked couscous to the mixed mint & fruit; cover and steam.
Mix the lemon juice, honey and oil topping; add and toss.
That's it - a few ordinary ingredients plus a few simple steps and you have a surprisingly sweet and fresh-tasting healthy whole grain breakfast.
Couscous for Breakfast
adapted from Robin Asbell's The New Whole Grains Cookbook
½ cup dried plums (or apricots, mangos, mixed fruit, etc.)
½ cup fresh mint leaves (or use 2 tablespoons dried mint flakes)
1 cup apple juice
½ cup whole-wheat couscous
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or other citrus)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
Handful of chopped nuts (I like almonds, pecans &/or pistachios)
- Dice the dried fruit and the fresh mint, not to small. Place the chopped fruit and fresh or dried mint in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Bring the apple juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the couscous and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the couscous to the tub with the fruit and mint. Stir, and cover to steam the fruit for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. (Use immediately as a warm dish, or set aside and chill to use later use.)
- In a small bowl or cup blend together the lemon juice, honey, and oil. Drizzle this dressing over the couscous and toss to mix and fluff. Spoon into individual bowls and scatter nuts on top. Yum.