Weeknight meals do not have to be boring, and they can also take thirty minutes. You’re tired when you come home, but want to be healthy and know exactly what goes into your dinner. Here are five of our favorite weeknight recipes that won’t eat up your weeknight (pun intended).
Israeli Couscous with Shrimp and Zucchini
Serves 4 to 6
“The lemon, cumin, and fresh herbs combined with the richness of the shrimp and the great texture of the Israeli couscous make this wonderful eating. Be sure to taste the dish before serving to check that it has enough seasoning and lemon—it’ll make the meal.” – Jane Coxwell
1 1⁄2 pounds uncooked shrimp
2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
2 cups grated zucchini (1 1⁄2 to 2 zucchinis)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 red onion, finely chopped
3 whole scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
Maldon or other flaky salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves
1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 handful fresh dill leaves (no big stems)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute, until pink. (The exact time will depend on their size, but be careful not to overcook them.) Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and run cold water over them to stop the cooking.
2. Keep the water boiling and add the couscous. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente.
3. While the couscous is cooking, place the zucchini in a bowl and add the garlic, red onion, scallions, and shrimp.
4. Drain the couscous and run it under cold water to stop the cooking. Shake off as much excess water as possible and add the couscous to the bowl with the zucchini.
5. Add the olive oil, cumin, lemon juice, and a squeeze of agave nectar; season with salt and pepper. Give it a good mix and check the seasoning. Add the herbs and mix again. Recheck the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if necessary.
Preserved Lemon and Chickpea Pasta
8 ounces pasta of choice (brown rice pasta used here)
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
15 ounce can of chickpeas, thoroughly drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh parsley
1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 quarters preserved lemon, chopped (equal to 1/2 lemon; substitute zest + 1 tbsp lemon juice if no preserved lemons on hand)
1/3 cup reserved pasta water
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a drizzle of olive oil and then cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water and then drain. Set aside in pot to keep warm
While pasta is cooking, heat a medium skillet over a medium low flame. Add two teaspoons olive oil. Add one clove of the minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas. Saute for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. Combine the remaining clove of garlic with the 1/3 cup of olive oil, the parsley and the almonds. Puree in a food processor until a coarse paste has formed.
Toss the warm pasta with the spinach leaves to wilt them. Add the pesto, chickpeas, preserved lemons and gently toss. If a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water for creaminess.
Taste to see if the preserved lemons provide enough salt. Season to taste with sea salt if desired, along with freshly cracked black pepper. Best served immediately.
Grilled Halibut with Grapefruit and Orange
Yield: 4 servings
3 tbsp olive oil
1 chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1 tbsp grated Orange rind
½ Grapefruit and Orange sections
4 tsp chopped chives
4 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
4 (6-oz) halibut fillets
Salt and Pepper
Combine first 7 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill, season fish with salt and pepper, and rub a touch of olive oil on it.
Cook on each side 2-4 minutes.
Serve with sauce.
2 8oz large cans of Low Sodium white meat tuna (any good quality brand)
Good Dijon mustard (or any variety you prefer but not basic yellow!)
2-3 finely diced fresh jalapeños
12-20 piquillo peppers (I use hot but mild is also available)
1/2 finely diced red onion
1 can organic white beans
Homemade Italian Dressing (apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, fresh salt and ground pepper to taste)
Drain by pressing most of liquid out of the tuna. Flake all of the tuna in a bowl with the back of a fork, so you have very fine pieces to start. Add fresh Italian dressing to coat tuna and more salt and pepper to taste.
When seasoned, add mustard and mix well. Then add jalapeños, piquilio and red onion to taste, so you have an even ratio of all ingredients for color and flavor.
Lastly, add beans and combine, trying to mash about 1/4 of them but keeping beans whole for the rest.
Finish with finely chopped cilantro (or Italian parsley if you prefer).
Serve with sides of extra jalapeño, peppers, onions, capers, and herbs, so everyone can flavor and spice to their taste…
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
For the dressing
1⁄3 cup (3 fl oz/90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) rice vinegar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) sambal oelek, or to taste
For the rye croutons
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 slices rye bread, crusts removed, cut into pea-size dice
2 lb (1 kg) Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 red onion, cut into thick slices
1⁄2 cup (3 oz/90 g) dried currants, rehydrated in warm water, drained, and patted dry
1⁄4 cup ( 1⁄3 oz/10 g) finely chopped fresh mint
To make the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and sambal. Depending on your heat tolerance, you may want to adjust the amount of sambal. Set aside.
To make the croutons, in a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bread cubes and sauté until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt. Set aside.
Using a mandoline or a sharp chef’s knife, cut the Brussels sprouts lengthwise into thin slices, about 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick. Set aside.
Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill. Scrape the rack clean and brush lightly with oil. (You can also char the onion on a well-oiled stove-top grill pan preheated over high heat.) Arrange the onion slices on the grill rack directly over the fire and grill, turning once, until softened and nicely etched with grill marks. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly, then chop roughly and set aside.
Combine the Brussels sprouts, onion, currants, mint, and all but a small handful of the croutons in a large bowl and toss to mix. Add the dressing and toss again, then season with a bit of salt. On a serving plate, spread a little of the salad and top with a dollop or two of the stracciatella. Repeat the layers at least twice, until you have a pretty mound of salad. Garnish with the remaining croutons and serve right away.
Sarah’ s drink note
I like to drink a slightly off-dry wine with this salad because of the spice. If you enjoy Rieslings but not the syrupy ones, try a Kerner instead. The Kofererhof Kerner is killer.