Garlic & Cauliflower Couscous with Lemon Dijon Dressing

I am not one for resolutions around the New Year, however last year I did decide to change my diet and start exercising more. I started running, which is something I used to loathe, and changed my diet in a few ways. I didn’t really adhere to a plan, but what I did was significantly decrease the amount of meat and dairy that I ate, and pretty much cut all refined sugar and non-whole grains. In the course of 6 months, I lost about 20lbs, and was feeling great.

The first week I moved to Shanghai, I threw out my back (so old-lady of me, I know) and quit running. I never picked it up again but hopefully I will be able to change that soon. I want to get back on my running game! Another big change when I moved here was my diet. I still try to be healthy, but it is really hard when there is no Trader Joe’s down the street and the McDonalds sell curly fried. The staple of the Chinese diet is white rice (or noodles), and most of the food is salt, oil, and MSG laden. That’s not to say it’s completely unhealthy, is full of delicious veggies that you don’t even really see in the States.

I have decided to try to slowly but surely revert back to my old diet. It won’t happen all at once, especially since the Fried Rice Lady (as I have dubbed her) with her cart full of rice and noodle options to be fried in god knows what chemicals is constantly calling my name. Once I get the hang of where to get the ingredients that I want and need, and figure out how many times a week is too many to go out and get some delicious Chinese food, I’ll be good to go.

Enter: Garlic & Cauliflower Couscous with Lemon Dijon Dressing. I had half a head of cauliflower left over from my soup endeavor earlier in the week, and I always have couscous on hand. I found this recipe from Avocado Pesto (great blog), and thought it would be a great way to get rid of the cauliflower, but I slightly changed it to be a little healthier.

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Ingredient:

  • 1 cup dried couscous
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T of olive oil
  • 2 T grainy dijon mustard
  • 2 T greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • Feta cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

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How To:

  • Break the cauliflower up into bite size pieces, toss with 1 T of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Roast in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes, or until just starting to brown and tender crisp
  • Slice 5 cloves of garlic very thin, heat the remaining olive oil over a low flame, and cook garlic until just starting to brown, remove from heat and set aside
  • Pour the oil from cooking the garlic into a small saucepan, and over a low flame toast the dry couscous for about 2 minutes
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, remove from the heat and cover, let sit for about 5 minutes
  • While the couscous is sitting, add the mustard, 1 clove of garlic, greek yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice to a small blender/food processor and and mix until combined.
  • Fluff the couscous with a fork, and scoop into a large bowl, mixing in the roasted cauliflower and browned garlic
  • Pour in the dressing in 3 or 4 stages (a few tablespoons at a time) mixing in between pours to evenly distribute the dressing
  • Add some feta cheese crumble and give it a final stir
  • Pig out.

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This is a bowl of garlicky, lemony goodness. You can also easily substitute quinoa for the couscous, which is how I would have made this if quinoa didn’t cost 10 USD for a small bag in Shanghai. Happy Eating!

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