Shredded beets with Pearl Couscous create an intense purple dish that can be served as a side dish, or a vegan lunch or main dish.
One thing you know when you work with beets, is that this vegetable colors everything it touches. Your utensils, your hands and all the food that it is in contact with. In other words, a perfect natural color agent, or dye if you like.
There are 2 major ways to prepare this Pearl Couscous with Beets. The first one is shred the beets (as I have done in this recipe) or to chop the beets in larger chunks. The first one will create a color pearl couscous more intensely because there is more beet juice to go around.
What are the ingredients in this side dish?
- Pearl couscous
- Red Beets
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
The recipe is rather straight forward to make. First of all cook the beets.
I prefer roasting to enhance the flavor of the vegetable a little bit. I dry-roast, that means cut them in half, and place them face-down on a baking sheet and roast them until you can easily pierce them with a fork or small knife. This takes about 30 minutes, but can be more, depending on the size of the beet.
You can also cook the beets in water until they are soft, takes about the same amount of time as roasting. With this method you’ll lose a little bit of the pigment of the beets, but in general, it will not affect the color of your dish. Adding some vinegar to the water will prevent some of the ‘leaking of the color’ from happening.
Once the beets are done, allow them to cool a little, so you can handle them without burning your fingers and then peel them. At this moment, you may like to use disposable glove is kitchen gloves or try to peel them, using paper kitchen towels. When the beets are cooked, the skin should go off easily.
After you peeled the beets, it is time to shred them. You can use a food processor or a simple box grater. While you’re shredding the beets, cook the pearl couscous in water, vegetable or chicken stock.
Cook the chopped shallot in a tablespoon of olive oil and add the shredded beets. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, salt, pepper. Warm up.
Mix couscous with beets and add fresh thyme; taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve.
Pearl Couscous with Beets
- 3/4 cup pearl couscous
- 3 red beets
- 1/2 shallot finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 lemon juice and zest
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper
- fresh thyme
- Wash the beets and dry them. Cut them in half and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet. (NOTE 1)
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake the beets for approx. 30 minutes, depending on the size of the beet roots.
- Allow the beets to cool down a little so you can hold them in your hand without burning. Peel the beets. When the beets are cooked/roasted long enough the skin should go off easily.
- Bring water and salt to a boil and add the pearl couscous. Cook according to the directions on the packaging. (NOTE 2)
- Grate the beets, using the coarse side of a box grater. (NOTE 3)
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the chopped shallot until translucent. Add the beets and warm up.
- Season the shallot-beets mixture with lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, salt and pepper.
- When the couscous is cooked, drain it and add to the beet mixture. Mix until the couscous turn deep purple. Add thyme leaves from a few sprigs and taste.
- Add salt and pepper if needed. Plate and garnish with fresh thyme.
- You can also cook the beets in water. It takes about the same amount of time.
- Instead of water, use vegetable broth or chicken broth if you are not a vegan or vegetarian.
- Grate the beets in a food processor