Sunday, June 11, 2017

Italian Vegetable Fagioli with Toasted Couscous: Light for Summer and for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I've said before that a big part of my soup love or what draws me to a recipe is a creative topping or stir-in. It can take a basic soup and make it into something really special. I saw this soup in a recipe email from Real Simple magazine and was intrigued with the toasted couscous that tops at simple Italian veggie and bean soup. I've used couscous (both regular and Israeli or pearl) in soups before but have not taken the step of toasting the couscous and using it as a topping. I eat soup all-year-round of course but this one is light and brothy and perfect for summer.

Real Simple says, "Sure, summer has its cold sparkling gazpachos, but why do most soups have to belong to winter? This soup is fresh and flavorful, full of exciting textures, colors, and depth. A cool step we’d like to draw your attention to is toasting the couscous before cooking it. You do it in the same skillet you end up cooking it in, so you don’t have to dirty another dish. The step adds a ton of nutty flavor and a bit of crunch to a grain that might otherwise get lost among the heart veggies."

I made a few small changes to the recipe--mainly doubling it and adding more veggies--noted in red below. 

Italian Vegetable Fagioli with Toasted Couscous 
Slightly Adapted from, Recipe by Karen Rankin
(Serves 4)

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large yellow squash, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
(I added 1 large zucchini, chopped)
(I added 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 cups vegetable broth
1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1/3 cup couscous 
1/2 cup basil leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add squash, onion, salt, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring often, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth, beans, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast couscous in a medium skillet over medium-high until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup boiling water; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Transfer to a bowl and wipe skillet clean.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high. Add couscous and cook, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Top with toasted couscous and basil.

Notes/Results: This is a great, simple soup that becomes even better with the addition of the toasted couscous. I added zucchini and yellow bell pepper and I meant to add fennel but I forgot to get it out of the fridge and then add it to the soup pot. Oh, well, it was still tasty. The couscous should be called double-toasted--since you toast it before cooking it and then again afterward and it's worth it. It adds good texture and a a nutty flavor that makes the soup sing. I'll be borrowing the idea for other soups. This soup is satisfying without being heavy and makes the most of summer veggies--I would happily make it again.

We have a few delicious dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared this Lentil Salad with Sauteed Vegetables and Feta adapted from Simple Foods by Alice Waters and said, "Her recipes are written in the older style where directions are given in between the ingredients in paragraph form: “Sort and rinse 1 cup lentils.  Cover with water….Toss the lentils with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, salt and pepper…” ... I love that you can adapt this dish to what is in season and what is in your pantry.  I decided to use the mirepoix based version but I also added in some feta."

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor made White Bean & Spinach Soup and said, "Soup can be loved no matter what the weather is like - hot or cold, soup is a healthy and often inexpensive option for a quick lunch. This white bean, spinach and tomato soup was made a while back and I just forgot to share it. Taking soup for lunch is an easy and healthy option, even tastier if you have fresh bread to bring long.  This one was made from pantry items on hand, getting creative when you don't want to go shopping."

Here at Kahakai Kitchen, I made open-faced sandwiches of Lemony Zucchini on Toasted Naan Bread, from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe. I had a crazy week and wanted something really quick and easy but still delicious on Friday night. These totally fit the bill with a glass of white wine. Perfect for summer.

Mahalo to Debra and Tina for joining in this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of toasted couscous as a topping, makes an interesting change from croutons!


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