- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Having a vegetarian guest at the Thanksgiving table or less festive affairs isn’t the rarity it once was.

Although less than 10 percent of the population shuns meat, according to a 2006 survey from the Vegetarian Resource Group, more people take an occasional break from eating meat, poultry and fish.

Don’t worry about what to prepare. As long as you serve a colorful and bountiful dish, you’ll please a vegetarian. If you don’t know the specifics of your guest’s diet, ask, or play it safe by eliminating dairy and eggs as well.

This recipe for vegetables with couscous is inspired by a famous Middle Eastern dish. The original calls for seven vegetables, a number that’s supposed to bring good luck. Moroccan cooks consider the shallot, garlic and tomato as flavorings, not vegetables, so feel free to add to the dish if you like.

Vegetables with couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small zucchini, trimmed and diced

1 small eggplant, trimmed and diced

1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced

1 plum tomato, cored and diced

1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce or to taste

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup canned, drained garbanzo beans

1 cup vegetable broth

3/4 cup whole-wheat couscous

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, shallot, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are lightly browned. Add tomato and cook for 30 seconds or until pulpy. Stir in hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper and garbanzo beans.

Add broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until couscous absorbs broth and becomes tender. Uncover dish. Fluff up couscous with a fork. Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust hot pepper sauce and salt, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

Each recipe has: 440 calories; 8 grams total fat; 17.5 grams protein; 79 grams carbohydrates; 610 milligrams sodium and 15 grams dietary fiber.




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