Did you ever have one of those Mondays where you get so much done and have tons of energy? I had that day yesterday and it was an amazing way to start up the week. I accomplished more in 2 hours then I had the whole weekend. Whoo hoo! I even had some extra time to write up this post, so you’re getting 2 posts already this week and it’s only Tuesday. Bonus! Who am I? I don’t know, but I like this new me (don’t get too excited as this is not normal for me).
So I cooked up some salmon last week and whenever I cook up salmon my kids ask for couscous as their side dish. Basically my kids equate salmon with couscous. Anyway, I was getting bored of the traditional couscous fare. Couscous reminds me of white rice, just plain and unassuming, so I was excited when I saw this recipe for couscous cakes in Fine Cooking magazine. These cakes sort of reminded me of my chickpea veggie burgers.
These patties are so easy to make and require a few simple pantry ingredients, AWESOME! I even made the patties earlier in the day and then sautéed them up right before dinner, the perfect make-ahead recipe.
recipe from Fine Cooking
makes 8-9 patties
- 3/4 cup couscous – I pack a hefty 3/4 cup of couscous
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf or italian parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten – I found using large eggs not extra large works best here.
- finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil – you will use this later to cook the cakes
Put the couscous and 1 teaspoon salt in a small pan. Add 1 cup boiling water to the couscous, cover with the pan lid and let sit for 4 to 5 minutes.
Coarsely chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Here is what your mixture will look like after it’s been chopped.
Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. In a large bowl, add the couscous, the chickpea mixture, eggs, and lemon zest and mix until well combined.
Press the couscous mixture into a 1/4 measuring cup, smooth the top, and invert the measuring cup to release the cake onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture to make 8-9 cakes.
I always throw my mixture in the fridge for a bit before I make the couscous cakes, so the mixture can gel together.
Note: To make these a make-ahead meal, you can refrigerate the patties ahead of time and sauté them up right before dinner. You can also refrigerate the mixture as is, and make the patties right before you sauté them. Either way works.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
Add 5 of the couscous cakes to the skillet and then use a spatula to lightly flatten the cakes so they’re about 3/4 inch thick. Just take a spatula and gently press down on the cakes once they’re in the skillet to flatten them.
Cook, flipping once, until the patties are crisp and golden brown on both sides. The recipe said 2 to 3 minutes per side, but mine took a bit longer, like 5 minutes per side. Just make sure to cook them till they are golden brown on each side.
Transfer the cooked patties to a paper-towel lined plate. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and cook the remaining cakes the same way.
You can serve these up with just about anything. I gave the kids a couscous cake and some broccoli along with their salmon. John and I paired one with a spinach salad and some salmon. I also love serving these alongside a soup, such as my cauliflower soup. These would even be great topped with my tzatziki yogurt sauce as a lunch-time entree. Feel free to jazz these up anyway you choose. I could see adding some red or green onions to them as well as possibly substituting cilantro for the parsley leaves. This is a great and basic couscous cake recipe.
Family verdict? These were rated a 10 in my house and I will definitely be making them again! Got leftovers? Just throw them in a 250 degree oven to warm them up.