Lunch Box: Make-Ahead Toasted Whole-Wheat Couscous with Fennel, Lemon and Feta
These fat little balls of joy may be called couscous, but the truth is [spoiler alert] that Israeli couscous is actually ball-shaped pasta. If you just crossed it off your list of healthy foods, well, I apologize for that, but you'll be missing out. One advantage of the mini pasta is that, unlike the big kind, it can be toasted, giving it a nutty flavor and a bit of texture (if your regular-sized pasta becomes "toasted" then something probably went wrong).
I basically bombarded the Israeli couscous with flavors, and then let everything hang out together in the fridge overnight, making it a much more a complete dish than it was the night before. Instead of tossing the whole thing together with dressing, which might have made it soggy, I lightly dressed just the fennel and onions in a simple lemon vinaigrette. Fennel is the perfect make-ahead vegetable; it'll soak up dressing and hold its shape and texture instead of becoming droopy. I roasted the fennel here, but you could probably go ahead and use it raw as well.
This was especially delicious heated up at work the next day. Nothing got dried out or overcooked, parsley, fennel fronds and lemon made everything taste fresh and bright, and to me, warm feta is no contest to cold.
But then again, can you ever go wrong with pasta and cheese?
About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. On twitter and instagram @suzerbruiser