Israeli Couscous with Toasted Almonds, Butternut Squash and Feta
I have served this dish multiple times and Thanksgiving. It is a wonderful alternative to the traditional sides that you so often see. The toasted almonds and browned butternut squash push it into the winter/holiday category, without being mundane or seen across every table. It has great spices such as coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Creamy feta and zesty herbs continue to elevate the dish. And its mild flavor is pleasing to most palates. We ate it as out entree tonight. All I did was cube up and season some chicken breasts and ta-da... entree.
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup whole almonds
3 tbsp butter
1 small butternut squash (cubed into 1/4 inch pieces)
5-7 garlic cloves
1 package basil
1 package mint (or a little less if you don’t want a strong mint flavor)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4- 1 cup feta
1 orange juiced and zested
1. Cook the couscous according to instructions and set aside. (But...Its a pretty universal 1 1/4 cup water, 1 cup Israeli couscous and 1 tbsp olive oil.)
2. In a large sauté pan, add 1 tbsp of butter, the almonds, the garlic and the cubed butternut squash. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Allow the almonds and squash to sit for a few minutes before turning them. You want to see them brown/crisp.
3. Add the cooked couscous, the mint, the basil, the spices and the remaining 2 tbsp of butter. (You could use olive oil or coconut oil.)
4. Juice and zest the orange.
5. Stir until all the ingredients are mixed well.
6. Add 3/4-1 cup of feta, stir again and allow to cook another minute or two.