Weeknight Cooking

Citrus Olive Couscous + Braised Carrots and Fennel

September 16, 2013

We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there. 

Today: Save your mismatched dinner for another time. These two dishes were destined to be eaten together. 

Citrus Olive Couscous from Food52  Carrots and Fennel Braised with Orange Zest and Honey from Food52

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Every cook is familiar with a mismatched dinner. You know the one. It's leftover night and your plate is composed of half a bean burrito, a little Asian cucumber salad, some kind of kugel, and a whole lot of confusion. 

That's not to say we don't love variety. It's just that sometimes -- especially on Mondays -- we've got to try to keep it all together, if only for the sake of appearances. This vegetarian dinner, which will take you less 30 minutes to make, consists of two salty-sweet dishes that were destined to be eaten together. If you don't believe us, just take a look at the grocery list. Common ingredients between dishes means a less lengthy, less expensive shopping list and a meal that will leave you more satisfied than confused. 

The Menu

Take advantage of our handy grocery list and game plan, or click the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes.

Citrus Olive Couscous by vegetarianirvana

Citrus Olive Couscous from Food52

Carrots and Fennel Braised with Orange Zest and Honey
by Viviane Bauquet Farre

Carrots and Fennel Braised with Orange Zest and Honey from Food52

The Grocery List

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds carrots
1 fennel bulb
1 cup Israeli couscous
Carton of orange juice
1 orange
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
12 salty, pitted green marinated olives
1 sweet yellow onion

Chances are, you already have olive oil, honey, butter, salt, black pepper in your kitchen. If not, pick those up, too. 

The Plan

1. Chop the carrots into sticks. Trim and slice the fennel bulb. Save 2 tablespoons of the fronds for a garnish.

2. Toast the couscous with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 3/4 cups of orange juice, bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of butter, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add carrots, fennel, strips of orange zest, and crushed fennel seeds. Sauté until fennel starts to soften, then add 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup orange juice, salt, and pepper. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. While couscous and carrots are cooking, chop and combine olives and 2 tablespoons of onion. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and black pepper to taste. 

5. Uncover the carrots and fennel, raise heat to high, and cook until liquid has evaporated. Fluff the couscous and stir in the olive-onion mixture. Once the carrots and fennel are soft and golden-brown (6 to 7 minutes), remove from heat, discard the orange zest, and sprinkle with fennel fronds. 

6. Serve the braised vegetables on a bed of couscous. Now that's elegant.

Photos by James Ransom

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Stacy
  • Valerie
  • Mitzish
  • Emily
  • ChefJune
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Stacy January 26, 2014
This was wonderful - exactly the light but filling dinner I wanted for a January evening! The olives make the couscous just right with their salty kick.
Valerie - if you must leave out the olives I would make sure to replace it with something else salty. Feta cubes, perhaps? Or just make this for yourself =)
Valerie November 30, 2013
Looks great! Any ideas for substituing the olives? My boyfriend hates olives, unfortunately.
Mitzish September 17, 2013
This was absolutely fabulous!
Sarah J. September 20, 2013
So glad to hear it, Mitzish!
Emily September 17, 2013
I've been wanting to try couscous for a while . . . thanks for the fun recipe! Can't wait to try this one.

ChefJune September 16, 2013
This combination sounds SO fresh and delicious.
TheFarmGirlCooks September 16, 2013
I need this right now. I love the combination of fennel and carrots, especially roasted and/or braised. Thanks for the couscous idea!