I'm contemplating making this for 70 or so (http://food52.com/recipes...). Any suggestions for CHEAP, simple side dishes? A couscous seems like a natural - other ideas? Thanks friends.
A good couscous or rice pilaf--use golden raisins, toasted walnuts (or even sliced toasted almonds), and toasted cumin seeds in the pilaf. A simple, chickpea salad may also be in order--I make one with chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt, parsley, and parmesan. It's delicious, cheap, and easy peasy.
Freekah would be different and interesting. Freekah comes from the region of Palestine up through Turkey. It is spelt, which is harvested early, and then roasted to preserve it. You can prepare it as you would rice and it is available in Persian and Middle Eastern food stores.
Try one of my favorite recipes from Food52.
This dish has won more raves from dinner guests for me than my entrees! Ive utilized the roasted chickpea concept from this recipe a dozen times in salads, couscous, rice, stewed veggies its the key to this dish imho.
You cannot get any easier or cheaper than fine grain couscous(as opposed to israeli couscous- the size of beebees.) it can be served room temp or warm and you can do about anything to it. given the chicken spicing, i do think orange zest and dried cranberries and almonds or pistachios would make nice components, and chicken stock would be more flavorful than water. I would also urge you to use whole wheat couscous because it is a really good mild way to ease people into whole grain eating. Freekeh is wonderful but more expensive and alot coarser, so not as good for soaking up juices.
I was likewise thinking a rice dish with nuts of some sort. You can also serve roasted potatoes or roasted carrots. As for greens, wilted spinach with garlic is easy to make for a crowd.
Thanks everyone for all the good suggestions. I'll let you know how it works out!