Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cumin Yogurt Sauce and Quinoa Couscous Pantry Buster

Last night's dinner was so easy and so good! It is grocery shopping day today, so, needless to say, I had to do some pantry busting last night. I had two chicken breasts which I was planning on spicing and sauteing. I had a pint of nonfat plain yogurt, a bag of quinoa that had been sitting in my cupboard forever, raisins that were available to steal from Emmett's snack pile, a bag of leftover celery spears from a baby shower and a shallot leftover from making the pumpkin sauce for the Bacon Takedown. A few staple-ish items that also made the list: a lemon, cumin, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some parsley.

I was inspired by an amazing meal I had at the new "Kitchen" location downtown: a perfectly cooked piece of harissa spiced chicken on top of cumin yogurt sauce and quinoa couscous. I came very close to licking the plate after that meal. It was my favorite type of food: many differently flavored and textured components mixing harmoniously in my mouth!

I started with the yogurt sauce, knowing that the longer it had to sit, the more flavorful it would be. Whether or not you try anything else from this meal, please make this sauce. It is so light and flavorful and would pair well with any mediterranean dish or sauteed meat.

Cumin Yogurt Sauce
1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt [greek yogurt would be awesome, but I only had normal yogurt on hand]
2 tsps cumin seeds or ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

If using seeds, they are so much more flavorful, begin by heating a dry skillet to medium. Add your seeds in and toast for approximately a minute. Throw the  seeds into a mortar and pestle and smash until the seeds start to crack. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can always put seeds into a sealed ziploc bag and take a hammer to them.

If you only have cumin powder, still throw it into a skillet for a minute to wake up the spice.

Add the toasted cumin, salt and pepper to the yogurt. Stir to combine and set aside until ready to serve.

P.S. I used my emptied yogurt container to mix in so that I didn't have to clean up another bowl.

Quinoa Couscous
2 1/2 cups of cooked and cooled quinoa
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 c. raisins
1/2 c. finely sliced celery
1/2 of a shallot, finely chopped [if you don't have shallot, chopped green onion would work well]
2 T chopped parsley
1 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. agave nectar, honey or sugar [whatever you have on hand]
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper

Combine your raisins and lemon juice in a small bowl. Plump your raisins in the lemon juice by throwing them into your microwave for 30 seconds or heating them on the stovetop for a couple of minutes.

Add the plumped raisins, celery, shallot and parsley to the couscous and stir to combine. Here is the couscous, right before I mixed the celery in:

Make your vinaigrette by whisking together your oil, vinegar, sweetener, salt and pepper. Pour on top of your couscous and stir to combine. Let sit for a few minutes before serving to let the flavors develop.

I served the couscous alongside chicken and dolloped a ton of the yogurt sauce on top of both...healthy, easy and soooo good!


  1. This look so delicious!! I can't wait to try it :) What is on that chicken?

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