A Riff On Moroccan Bidaoui Couscous

This is a fantastically versatile couscous dish popular at Eid (fortuitous since I made it on what turned out to be the first day of the holiday celebration).

My version is vegetarian and much simpler than the original – a version of which can be found here. I served mine topped with last week’s tfaya dressing as written the first night and added a splash of lemon zest the next for an even brighter taste.

vegetarian, vegan

A Riff On Moroccan Bidaoui Couscous

The Cous

1 cup couscous

2 cups good broth (I used a nice veggie broth)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp ghee or butter

Generous sprinkle salt & pepper

2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 cup chopped parsley

The Veggies

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered

2 large carrots, chopped

1/2 small butternut squash

4 small zucchini, chopped

Spice Mix

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground cayenne

Topper

Tfaya dressing

Slivered almonds

Preheat your oven to 400C/345F and prepare a baking sheet.

Chop your veggies into large pieces and set on the sheet. For the butternut, scoop the seeds and slice into thick half moons.

Sprinkle the spice mix over all, hit with generous salt & pepper and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil.

Bake 25 – 35 minutes or until your desired brownness is reached.

Scoop the butternut out of the peels and chop. Set all aside while you make the couscous.

Put the couscous in a large bowl, add the turmeric and butter and pour the boiling stock over top. Let sit, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and toss with salt, pepper, olive oil, and parsley.

To serve, top the couscous with the roasted veggies and sprinkle all with slivered almonds & last week’s Tfaya dressing.

Serves 4 – 6

Moroccan Tfaya Dressing

This is a sweetish, rich, luxe topping that can be used a bunch of different ways.

I’ve had this batch slathered onto bread, and used as a topper for a veggie-based couscous dish coming next week. In restaurants, I’ve had it as a sort of dip for roasted meats as well.

gluten-free, vegetarian

Moroccan Tfaya Dressing

1/2 cup golden raisins

3 small red onions, peeled and sliced thinly

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup water

Generous amount black pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

Generous pinch salt

Pinch saffron threads

Slice the onions thinly and add to a pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the saffron) and simmer :30 – 1:00 or until the onions are on their way to breaking up and the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup. Add the saffron in the last 10-15 minutes.

Serve over next week’s couscous dish, slathered on bread, as a dip for meats or tossed into scrambled eggs.

Serves 4 – 6

Gochujang Chicken Stir Fry

I love Gochujang. This is a quick to throw together dinner that manages to be low calorie and packed with flavor.

gluten-free* (check your Gochujang label!)

Gochujang Chicken Stir Fry

1 lb. ground chicken

1 large carrot, diced

1 bell pepper (any color), chopped

1.5 c snap peas (tipped and halved)

1.5 Tbsp gochujang

1 tsp sambal olek

2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp honey

2 tsp butter

Sesame seeds

A little oil

Chop the veggies and set aside. In a large pan over medium high heat, warm a couple teaspoons oil.

Add the chicken and carrots. Stir fry until the chicken is brown and the carrots are just beginning to soften.

While the chicken is working, whisk the sauce ingredients (the rest of the ingredients except for the sesame seeds and butter) together in a small bowl. set aside.

When the chicken is ready, add the pepper and snap peas and continue to stir fry until the veggies are done to just about your liking.

Add the sauce and continue cooking a minute or two, stirring frequently, to combine fully. Add the butter and stir until it melts.

Serve with rice (or not). Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Tunisian Spiced Salad

This is a nice little salad that can be bulked up for a good dinner or served light for a refreshing lunch.

gluten-free, paleo

Tunisian Spiced Salad

Dressing:

1 shallot, minced

2 Tbsp fruity vinegar (I used plum)

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Ras el Hanout

2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

4 Tbsp oil (olive or neutral)

Large pinches Salt & pepper

Salad:

1 large carrot, ribboned

1 package baby spinach

1/4 c slivered almonds

1 large mango, skinned and cut into bite sized cubes

Protein of choice (I used rotisserie chicken)

Whisk all dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl. Toss the salad ingredients into the bowl as you prep and mix well.

Serve with protein of your choice, or to bulk out – add your favorite grain (Cous cous, bulgur or farro would be great).

Serves 4

Carrot Salad with Hibachi-Style Ginger Dressing

This dressing tastes surprisingly just like that served at hibachi restaurants.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Hibachi-Style Ginger Dressing

2 large carrots

5 Tbsp your favorite oil

2 scallions

1 date

3 Tbsp your favorite fruity vinegar (I used ume plum)

2 Tbsp pineapple juice (I suspect orange would work well, too)

1/3 c Kewpie mayo

1 inch ginger

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Generous pinch salt & pepper

Water to thin if needed

Blitz all dressing ingredients together, thinning out with a little water if necessary.

A Salad To Go With It

1 – 2 carrots, ribboned

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 huge hand full green beans, chopped

3 smallish Persian cucumbers, diced

2 scallions, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

Toppers: sesame seeds, flaky salt, pepper, sambal or other spice

The dressing serves 6 or so; the salad makes enough for 3 – 4 dinners when supplemented with a protein

Sunshine Shrimp Chopped Salad

This is an addictive little hit of Summer sun in a bowl; perfect for those mid-Winter blues.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian

Sunshine Shrimp Chopped Salad

Protein

1 – 1.5 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

Juice of 2 oranges

3 Tbsp salt

1/2 yellow onion, chopped rough

2 cloves garlic, chopped rough

Hand full cilantro

3 c water

First, poach your shrimp in the mix above a couple minutes or until cooked through. Remove. If your shrimp were frozen and pre-cooked like mine, heat till warmed through. You’ll still get a bit of that delicious poaching liquid taste. It’s fine.

Dressing

4 Tbsp cashew butter

1 tsp your favorite sweetener (I used date molasses)

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

1-2 tsp sambal olek

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Sprinkle salt & pepper

Salad Base

Couple hand fulls green beans per serving, cut in thirds and poached in the shrimp liquid until crisp-tender

1/2 avocado per serving

1/2 – whole segmented and chopped orange per serving

6-10 cherry tomatoes, halved, per serving

Sprinkle soy

Sprinkle sesame seeds

Sprinkle flaky salt

How many this serves depends on how starving you are – this *could* serve 2 for lunch as written, or just a really hungry me. You do you

Air Fryer Sweet Potato & Chive Chicken Meatballs

These are addictive. I’m not sure why, since they’re so simple, but they are. It’s probably the chive. So good, I’m keeping some on hand for snacking.

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

Air Fryer Sweet Potato & Chive Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

1 small sweet potato, peeled & rough chopped (about 2 cups when shredded)

1/4 cup chives, snipped fine

1 small shallot, peeled & rough chopped

Salt & pepper

Whack your chopped sweet potato and shallot in a food processor until the pieces look like small shreds. Mix with the ground chicken and hit with generous salt & pepper.

Preheat your air fryer to 200C/400F for 3 minutes.

When your air fryer is done heating, form the ground chicken mix into roughly ping pong ball sized meatballs and drop into the basket in a single layer, leaving a little space around each ball to breathe. I did mine in 2 rounds. Air fry 7 minutes per batch, shaking a few times during the cooking process to avoid sticking. Mine wanted to stick a bit, but with the shaking, the balls stayed together and ended up coming out just fine.

Serve with pretty much anything – I had some for a super simple ‘I’m not that hungry’ dinner with some babaganoush one night, nestled in a mess of stir-fried snow peas for lunch, and alongside some lazy af Ranch-y zucchini for another dinner. These babies are versatile. Would also be great with pasta.

Serves 4-6, depending on what you do with them

Mango Chive Salad

Although it is not, regrettably, high mango season where I live – I just couldn’t resist some particularly tantalizing ruby red beauties in the grocery last week. Here, we are starting to dread the summer heat – while hanging on to every last shred of cool weather (and the winds they bring). I thought a nice, refreshing salad was just the thing to combat those spring ‘I’m not ready for surface of the sun temps’ blues.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Mango Chive Salad

1 large mango (if you’ve got a big boy, or 2 smaller), skinned and chopped

3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 large English variety

1/4 c chives, snipped

1 jalapeño, seeded

1/4 c pepitas

2 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp your favorite mustard (I used Dijon, but my love – grainy Maille – would also be great here)

2 tsp honey, agave or date molasses

2 Tbsp your favorite neutral oil (or neutral-ish; I used olive)

2 tsp any fruit vinegar (I used ume plum)

1 red bell pepper

Optional add-ins for bulk: Hand full simply stir-fried snow peas, 1/4 – 1/2 avocado per serving

Optional add-ins for protein: rotisserie chicken, shrimp or sesame tofu

Chop the cucumber into bite-sized pieces and add to a large bowl.

Chop and add the red pepper & half the jalapeño and add to the bowl.

Snip the chives into small bits and add.

Add half the mango (I had a big boy so I added about a cup and a half, reserving about half a cup of mango for the dressing).

Toss all and set aside.

In the carafe of your blender, add: the other 1/2 cup or so of mango, the second half of the jalapeño, garlic, pepitas, lemon juice, mustard, sweetener, oil, and vinegar. Whiz to combine. Salt to taste.

Toss the salad with the dressing and any add-ins. Whack with a sprinkle flaky salt & black pepper to finish.

Serves 2 as a big meal-sized salad; 4 if you’re adding in the proteins & bulk items

Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Nibbles

Ooh man, the air fryer can make some delicious nuggets. I let this batch marinate longer than anticipated (afternoon + over night instead of for like an hour) and the ginger garlic was definitely noticeable in every bite.

gluten-free

Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Nibbles

1 pound chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Marinade:

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

2 tsp your fav vinegar (I used ume plum)

1/2 inch grated ginger

2 cloves grated garlic

Sauce:

2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1.5 Tbsp honey

2 tsp sambal olek

1 tsp vinegar

2 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp grated horseradish

Cornstarch

Black pepper

Spritz oil (I have flaxseed, but any kind will do)

Add your marinade ingredients and chicken to a large bag or bowl. Shake well to coat and marinate for at least an hour, but I would suggest over night. Mine went for almost a full day because my chicken was still a bit too frozen and it was magnificent.

Preheat your air fryer to 200C/400F for 3 minutes.

While the air fryer is warming, add your chicken to a large bowl (trying to get as little of the marinade as possible). Generously sprinkle with cornstarch and black pepper. Toss. Hit again with cornstarch and pepper – you’re looking for most if not all of the pieces to be coated.

Add to the basket of your air fryer and blast with a few spritzes oil.

Turn the timer to 10 minutes and fry, shaking vigorously to break up any clumping and spritzing with oil 3-4 times while the chicken cooks.

While the chicken is going, whisk together all the sauce ingredients.

This is great served with some veggies (I did peppers, onions & portobello mushrooms) simply air fried with salt, pepper and a blast of spritz oil until a touch browned (takes about 12 minutes).

Serves 3-4

Air Fryer Eggplant with Vegan Yogurt Sauce

Yaaaaaaas. I love fried eggplant cubes but hate actually frying things. The air fryer makes quick work of eggplant, turning it into crisp little nuggets in 10 minutes. Delicious!

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Air Fryer Eggplant with Vegan Yogurt Sauce

1 large purple eggplant

Salt

Curry powder

Spritz or spray oil

2 Tbsp Skyr-style soy yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 Tbsp tahini

Generous sprinkle salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Cube your eggplant into 1/4-inch pieces. Add to a large bowl and toss with a generous sprinkle salt. Let sit 5-10 minutes.

Preheat your air fryer to 200C/400F for 3 minutes.

Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, tahini and garlic powder in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary.

Toss your salted eggplant with a generous amount of curry powder, add to the basket of your air fryer, and hit with a spritz or two of oil. Fry, shaking occasionally, 10 minutes or until your desired level of crispness is achieved.

Serve with the yogurt sauce and your protein of choice.

Serves 2