Benjamin’s couscous

Lilah loves beans of all sorts.  Benjamin likes most bean dishes, although white beans are hit or miss.  Zachary would not consider eating a bean if it were coated in caramel and dipped in chocolate.

Lilah thinks squash is one of the seven wonders of the world.  Benjamin likes squash unless a better offer comes along.  Zachary would switch seats on an airplane if a squash were sitting next to him.

Lilah loves to try new foods, except on the days she doesn’t.  Benjamin assumes that any new food must be a treat that we’ve been hiding from him, and usually that turns out to be the case, like last week when he tried scallops for the first time and adored them.  Zachary hasn’t tried a new food since the Bush administration.

You see how it goes in our house.  About the only thing Zach does like is hamburgers, which Benjamin doesn’t particularly appreciate, so he ends up just eating the baked sweet potato fries.  Lilah likes burgers, though.  That’s how third children roll.

It’s all quite exhausting.

Sunday night I soaked two bags of garbanzos and then I cooked them up Monday morning while we were all getting ready for the day.  We had been out of town for the weekend so we were out of quite a few things, although we did have a couple of acorn squashes and quite a few carrots.  Unfortunately, they boys are off school, which is how I found myself at the grocery store with all three children, a situation I am usually far more successful at avoiding.

Sometime between the first and third time the boys decided to wrestle on the grocery store floor, we went down the rice aisle.  “I’m making chickpeas tonight,” I told Benjamin.  “Would you like them on rice or with this?  It’s a special pasta called ‘couscous.’”

“Um, I want that!” Benjamin replied, assuming if he hadn’t had it before, it must be delicious.

Now, their father hates couscous, but, frankly, if I thought about that fact I was afraid my head would start to spin around and my nostrils would blow blue smoke.  So, I bought some whole wheat couscous.

And, here’s what I did with it all.

Benjamin’s Couscous


Olive oil

One chopped onion

Several chopped cloves of garlic

Carrots – sliced in discs

One bag cooked garbanzos, drained

Two baked acorn squashes (sliced in half, baked face down about an hour on 400 with a little olive oil on them)

Chopped dates


Melt together the butter and olive oil.  Fry up the onions and garlic until translucent.

I didn’t have any chicken stock on hand, or I would have used that, but instead I used plain water.  I poured in a little more than 4 cups of water to a boil because the couscous package said 1 ¼ cups water to 1 cup couscous, and I wanted a little extra in there since I was cooking up other things, too.  Bring it all to a boil.  Add the carrots and cook till soft.

Then, add the couscous (in this case, I used three cups) and the dates.  Mix up and cover.  After five minutes, fluff with fork, then mix in the cooked garbanzos and chopped up cooked squash.  Don’t worry if they’ve already cooled, as this particular dish is fine warm instead of hot.

Salt to taste, which usually means I forget the salt and then we all rush to add it at the supper table.

My husband actually loved it, despite his deep seeded prejudice against couscous, perhaps due to some childhood trauma involving a Moroccan restaurant.  Benjamin and Lilah loved it, much to the detriment of our dining room rug.

Zachary didn’t try it, but I had also made garbanzo muffins.  Because I’m not an idiot.

7 responses to “Benjamin’s couscous

  1. sounds good all the way up to the acorn squash (which i hate–which is odd cause I love other types of squash)…. and grocery store shopping with a 3 kids is absolutely NO fun at all…you totally have my sympathies!

  2. MMM, that sounds delish! Ditto on the shopping with three kids, though!

    And I must have missed something, because I thought Lilah was allergic to olive oil?

  3. Sounds healthy and yummy. I miss couscous and chickpeas *sigh*.

    People who don’t like couscous are like people who don’t like cilantro- a totally different species.

  4. I still can’t understand how my son doesn’t like sweet potato fries. Brightly colored, sweet, in the fry family, for goodness’s sake. Can be eaten with copious amounts of ketchup if desired. He and your Zach must be kindred food spirits. Thank goodness for those muffin recipes!

  5. YUM. And ditto on the muffins.

  6. coldspaghetti

    YUM. This very closely resembles one of my staple vegetarian dishes — except I think I used red pepper and zucchini instead of squash. Thanks for the reminder… with Paul doing so much of the cooking lately we’ve been eating a lot more meat and I have sort of forgotten my old staples.

    And garbanzo muffins? You’re amazing.

  7. Yum, I love couscous – I’ll give this a try.

    One of my favorite parts of being a mom is when I cook dinner while kids are screaming at me, then serve dinner only to have husband miss the meal because of work and neither son will touch it. Then I’m SO glad I sacrificed sanity to cook.