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This recipe is an ideal dinner to have the night before a long run or ride because it provides plenty of vitamins and antioxidants from the vegetables, as well as protein and carbs. Because Israeli (or pearl) couscous doesn’t contain fiber, it’s a good choice before a real endurance effort (I’ve found that the veggies and pine nuts don’t add enough fiber to cause gastric distress). Pine nuts provide a buttery, rich flavor profile that provide performance benefits from magnesium, a mineral that soothes muscle cramps, fatigue and tension.
Veggie Israeli Couscous
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
2 cups Israeli couscous
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 small bundle asparagus, brittle bottoms removed, and chopped in 1/4-inch pieces
12 Cremini mushrooms, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white truffle salt (a little pricey, but worth it to me. Browse Amazon to compare/shop)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup soy crumbles or lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Tumble all washed, chopped vegetables onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano; toss veggies with hands to coat evenly with oil and seasonings. Roast for 25 minutes, or until veggies are lightly caramelized but carrots are still a tiny bit firm.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil and toast uncooked couscous until lightly browned, about five minutes. Add broth or water to pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Transfer couscous to a large bowl.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon oil and heat up soy crumbles (or brown ground turkey). Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired. When heated through/browned, remove from heat and add to the bowl of couscous.
Add roasted vegetables to the bowl of couscous when ready. Drizzle in remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon vegan or yogurt butter. Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon truffle salt. Sprinkle in pine nuts and stir well.