Unique Meat, Grain, Cheese and Vegetable Dinner: Pesto Pearled Couscous, Served with a Variety of Baked Vegetables, Topped with Fried Halloumi Cheese and Crisped Prosciutto Slices

CouscousCheeseMeatVegetable

I am ALL ABOUT creating restaurant-worthy meals at home. Yes, it is definitely super nice to go out to eat (don’t get me wrong). No trips to the grocery store, time spent preparing food, no mountains of dishes and a nice change of scenery. But, sometimes, cooking in your pajamas with a glass of wine that doesn’t price in at $8 or more dollars is also a super good thing haha (plus, lots of leftovers!)! I love a good grain-based dish with unique flavors when I go out – there are so many incredible combinations to explore. That’s where the inspiration for this dish came from. I love pearled couscous and pesto, so I figured – why not combine the two? Then I did sheet pan vegetables (SO easy and delicious!) consisting of cherry tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, asparagus, red sweet pepper, onion, zucchini and garlic. Then, to top it all off, I added fried halloumi (favorite cheese EVER) and crisped prosciutto. All the flavors and textures combined together are seriously INCREDIBLE! It’s a new favorite, and everyone who has tried it has already asked for me to make it again ASAP (which is a good feeling haha!). So, if you are looking for a unique and delicious dinner or something to cook for a special occasion (hint hint Valentine’s Day!), this may be a dish you want to add to the menu! Hope you enjoy, and happy cooking! 🙂

Makes Around 6 Servings (Can Easily Cut in Half, But Leftovers are Always a Plus)

Recipe by © Alysha Melnyk 2018

Kitchen Tools:

Oven, Preheated to 400°F (Place Racks in the Center)

Two Baking Sheets

Parchment Paper

Large Mixing Bowl

Spatula

Knife

Saucepan and Lid

Sauté Pan

Liquid Measuring Cup

Measuring Spoons

Dry Measuring Cups

Microwave

Ingredients:

*Disclaimer – I am including certain brand names of things I use (just because they are personal favorites of mine), but feel free to use whatever brand you like, is the cheapest, is on sale, what you have on hand, etc.*

Olive Oil (You will use this in various parts of the recipe, so have a bottle ready)

1 Bunch Petite Asparagus, Rinsed and Hard Stem Parts Removed, Cut into Small Pieces

1 Pack (5 ounces) Shitake Mushrooms (Or Mushrooms of Choice), Cut into Small Pieces

1 Large Sweet Pepper, Cut into Small Pieces

1 Small Zucchini, Cut into Small Pieces

2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, Whole

1/2 an Onion (or more if preferred), Cut into Small Pieces

2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic

*Salt and Pepper (To Taste – I added a few dashes)

2 to 3 Packages Couscous of Choice (I used 365 Everyday Value Organic Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous) *Amount depends on how hungry you are/the amount of leftovers you want. I added in the seasoning packet in addition to the pesto.

2-3 Tablespoons Pesto (I bought some premade in the store to save time, but you can make homemade as well!)

1 Three Ounce Package of Prosciutto (I used La Quercia Ridgetop Piccante Rubbed with Fennel and Red Chili)

1 Package Halloumi (Mine was around 3/4 pound, and I drained it and  sliced it into 1/2 inch slices)

Featured Artists/Products:

Square Platter by Jeremy Ogusky, Creater of Ogusky Ceramics (based in Jamaica Plan, MA)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line both sheet pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine asparagus, mushrooms, sweet pepper, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, minced garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix to combine/evenly coat everything.
  4. Next, spread vegetables between the two sheet pans in even layers. If desired, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pans in the oven, and bake for a total of 30 minutes (tossing vegetables once at 15 minutes to ensure even baking/browning).
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, make your couscous according to package instructions.
  6. Once vegetables are done cooking, shut off oven but do not open it. The vegetables will stay warm this way (but won’t burn) until you are ready to serve.
  7. Before the couscous is taken off the heat and let covered prior to serving, mix in pesto. I added a tablespoon for every package of couscous I made, but you can judge this based on how much pesto you want/how it compliments the other seasonings which may be included with your couscous.
  8. While the couscous is covered and setting prior to serving, coat the base of a sauté pan with a small layer of olive oil and place halloumi slices on top. Heat on medium/ medium high, and flip to brown both sides (keep an eye on this because it happens fast once the pan heats!). Also, the oil can spray, so be careful.
  9. While halloumi is cooking, place paper towels on a plate and lay cooked halloumi slices on top to cool (the paper towel also absorbs extra oil).
  10. You can serve the prosciutto as is, or (my favorite) is to actually bunch the pieces in loose balls and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. This lightly crisps the prosciutto but doesn’t rid the flavor like I feel oven baking does.
  11. Once everything is cooked, spoon some couscous on a plate, add some vegetables, top with prosciutto and friend halloumi and sprinkle with black pepper.
  12. Enjoy! 🙂

*Leftovers reheat nicely in microwave. Extra vegetables also taste great in an omelette.*

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