Israeli couscous has been a favorite of mine for years. It has very little flavor but enhances the ingredients and spices that are combined with it. Israeli couscous, or pearl couscous, is made from whole grain wheat flour so it is essentially pasta that has been extruded through a press in the shape of tiny balls, or pearls. When it is made, it is toasted rather than drying it like other pastas; this gives it a bit of a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Israeli couscous can be added to soups, salads, vegetables or any recipe in which you want to add interest.

Spiced Israeli Couscous with Grape Tomatoes and Wild Mushrooms can be served as a side dish or as a main dish for lunch. In this recipe, I use a selection of wild mushrooms to give it variety. I used oyster mushrooms cut into bite-sized pieces, sliced shitake and a few creminis. The shitake mushrooms shrink a lot so add extras and don’t slice them to thinly if you use them. One could use all cremini mushrooms for convenience since they are available at all grocery stores.

Spiced Israeli Couscous

Spiced Israeli Couscous with Grape Tomatoes and Wild Mushrooms is a delightfully easy recipe for a vegetarian dish, seasoned with Indian spices.

To make Spiced Israeli Couscous with Grape Tomatoes and Wild Mushrooms, I start by pulling out the flavors from the spices in hot oil. The shallots are then cooked in the spiced oil. The grape tomatoes are cut in half and added to the pot; they are cooked just until they start to lose their structure. I like to see that they are really tomatoes and not just red specks in the food that I serve. Next it is time to add the mushrooms and cook them until they become tender. During this time, the sauce will start to thicken.

Before boiling the couscous, I roast it in a dry skillet it to give it more flavor. After it is boiled, I add it to the pot along with a bit of cilantro and toasted cashews. The cooked couscous absorbs the flavor from the sauce creating a very tasty dish.

The recipe for Spiced Israeli Couscous with Grape Tomatoes and Wild Mushrooms is very simple but the flavors are delicious. Enjoy!

Brown basmati rice has long been known as a healthy grain known for its fiber and mineral content. Add it to quinoa, a tiny seed that is packed not only with fiber and minerals but with protein, and you have the basis for a supercharged recipe.

Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa

Brown Basmati Rice and Red Quinoa gets its flavor from a special blend of spices that are commonly used to season rice in India. This easy recipe is nutritious and flavorful.

My recipe for Masala Brown Basmati Rice and Red Quinoa gets its flavor from a special blend of spices that are commonly used to season rice in India. Whole bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and black peppercorns are added to the water in which the brown basmati rice cooks to give it flavor before it is even combined with the quinoa.

Additional flavor comes from the thinly cut onion slices that are fried in a spice mix of mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, coriander, chile and turmeric until they caramelize, bringing out their mild, sweetness. Garlic, grated carrots and fresh spinach are cooked in this seasoned oil until tender.

When everything is ready, all the ingredients are combined in a large pot and cooked together until the grains absorb the flavors of the spices and vegetables.

Masala Brown Basmati Rice and Red Quinoa is a simple recipe that can be served as a side dish to accompany any meal. I like to serve it at lunch as a healthy vegetarian dish along with a cup of hot soup.

Vegetable pulav is a rice dish that is prepared with a variety of fresh vegetables that are cooked in Indian-spiced oil. It is often served as a side dish or as a main item with a side of raita. It is one of my favorite recipes. My vegetable pulav recipe has a higher ratio of delicious vegetables to rice than others to cut calories.

For a change of pace, I decided to incorporate barley into a pulav recipe because of its firm texture. Barley is healthy grain. It contains large amounts of fiber, protein and other important nutrients. I try to limit the amount of rice that I eat because it is lower in fiber and higher in carbohydrates.

Barley Pulav

Barley Pulav a fusion of a popular Indian recipe and spices with healthy barley. They come together to make a delicious and versatile side dish.

To make Barley Pulav I simply boil the barley until it is tender. While it is cooking, I prepare the seasonings and vegetables. The first step, as always, is to season the oil by adding cardamom, cinnamon, dried red chilies, cumin, clove and bay leaf. Then I add my vegetables: carrots, green beans, onion, garlic and ginger. You can change the ingredients based on your preference and modify the ratios as well. Peas, small red potatoes and squash would make great additions. I let the vegetables cook at a low temperature until they are tender.

Finally, I add the barley to the vegetables. I let everything cook together for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to blend and absorb into the barley.

Barley Pulav is so easy to make that I can be served any night of the week. In fact, it is a terrific dish to take to a potluck as this dish can be served at room temperature and still be tasty. Your family and friends will love this dish.