One Prep, Two Meals: Couscous

Quick meals don’t get any easier than boiling water, pouring it over couscous, and adding fresh veg and canned beans. Get couscous recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Hopefully you’ve been inspired by all of this month’s recipes to look beyond leftovers and use the one prep–two meals formula. If couscous isn’t a staple in your pantry, this week’s post may surprise you as much as risotto did last week. But once you try these recipes, you’ll stock up on couscous for plenty of quick, easy meals. Just as fresh pasta outshines dried in any meal, instant couscous can’t compete with semolina grains steamed in stages in a couscoussière. But for quick meals at home, in the woods, or on the water, it doesn’t get any easier than boiling water and pouring it over the couscous. Add some fresh veg and canned beans, and you have lunch and dinner ready in a snap.

Speed and ease are just two of the beauties of the recipes you’ll find here. As I shared with more than a dozen sailors in a workshop this week, the two recipes here can spawn many days of meals cooked in a galley or over a camp stove and grill: I always travel with several heads of preroasted garlic to serve on grilled pizza, sandwiches, and other meals. The extra half-batch of chermoula can be used as a shrimp marinade. Bonus cans of chickpeas can be mashed into hummus. Extra veg can be grilled or sliced for dinner sides or between-meal snacks. And homemade feta disappears so quickly into hungry mouths you could never travel with too much.
Learn to make Vegetable Couscous with Chickpeas and Feta and Couscous Salad with Raw Vegetables

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Bean Soups

Soups fill our winter evenings, and the most filling ones start with beans. Get bean soup recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Soups fill our winter evenings, and the most filling ones start with beans. I love cooking with dried beans and tend to store many types in quart jars—which means I often have jars with just a scoop of beans left that I want to use up before I restock. Mixed-Bean Soup is the perfect option. You can use just about any bean in it, including lentils and split peas; the more variety, the more color and texture in the final soup. I often start by emptying as many jars as I can and then adding whatever beans I have in larger quantities, 1/2 cup at a time. Sometimes I even toss in leftover pearl barley.

In many ways, a soup with many types of beans resembles the bean soup mixes you can buy prebagged and tied with a pretty ribbon. But you’ll spend a lot less money if you buy the beans separately in bulk. You’ll also save money and have more control over the salt content and other additives if you started with dried instead of canned beans. And once you start cooking with dried beans, you’ll discover plenty of other uses for them, including—on this blog—pinto or kidney beans in Red Beans and Rice, black beans in veggie burgers, and chickpeas in falafel and this week’s other recipe, a Moroccan bean soup.

Learn to make Mixed-Bean Soup and Harira

Herb Marinades

Some of my favorite food memories linger from travels, with dishes I repeat at home. Get Moroccan recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Some of my favorite travel memories linger from my time in Morocco. I had the good fortune to have Peace Corps connections that introduced me to volunteers in both tiny towns and large cities. I stayed in their houses, visited their host families and haunts, and ate dinner in the homes of their Moroccan friends. I could never repeat or improve on the experience.

But the food: some of that I can and do repeat, even though it’s never quite the same. For example, every time I ate chermoula in Morocco, the flavor was unique. The basic version is essentially a pesto featuring cilantro and parsley, but my favorite versions included a little fresh ginger and extra spices, and I replicate it as well as I can. I mostly ate it in a tagine while in Morocco, but I’ve since learn to love it as a grilling marinade, accompanied, of course, by couscous.
Learn to make Grilled Shrimp with Chermoula and Cinnamon Couscous