When I am low on time and inspiration, and high on hunger and grumpiness, I turn to couscous. Cover this golden grain (it's actually a granular pasta made with durum wheat semolina!) with hot water, leave it for a minute, and you've got a fluffy, tender heap just waiting to be your dinner. (Note: If you're using Israeli couscous, you'll have to boil a pot of water—but it still cooks super quickly.) Couscous is the speediest way to dinner—bonus, it's extremely versatile.
Couscous makes an excellent bed for a hearty stew or saucy braise (make one over the weekend, then eat it all week long). It also easily bulks out a salad or turns roasted vegetables, toasted nuts, and some cheese into a full-fledged meal. Add some eggs and whatever leftovers are in your fridge, and voilà—you've got fritters. Is it also delicious with butter, salt, pepper, and microwaved peas? Yes, it is.
You hardly need a recipe to turn couscous into a meal, but just in case you want one, we've rounded up 16 recipes to celebrate couscous, and hearty stews to put on top of couscous, to add to your weeknight arsenal.
What's your favorite way to put a box of couscous to use? Tell us in the comments!
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).