When summer weather is at its finest, it's natural to want to avoid the kitchen. But easy summer eating doesn't have to rely on take out (which usually comes at a high financial and nutritional price).
For example, this recipe for curried shrimp and summer vegetable couscous combines seasonal fresh produce with virtually fat-free protein and a whole-wheat pasta for a supper entree that is as special a treat as any ethnic takeout food.
Plus, the recipe cooks in one pan so cleanup is fast and easy.
The dish gets its predominant flavor from curry powder, a blend of many spices usually including cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, chili peppers and turmeric. Since it comes in mild, medium and hot varieties, it's easy to customize. You can also easily change the blend of vegetables.
And if shrimp doesn't suit, cooked chicken would make a good substitute. For a vegetarian variation, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and used diced extra-firm tofu instead of the shrimp.Serve with tall glasses of iced Ceylon tea with crushed fresh mint leaves.
CURRIED SHRIMP AND SUMMER VEGETABLE COUSCOUS
Start to finish: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 pound broccoli florets
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
14 1/2-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces uncooked peeled and deveined medium shrimp
In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add scallions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the broccoli, zucchini and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the curry powder, salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and increase heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the shrimp, then add the couscous and stir to combine.
Remove the skillet from the heat, replace the cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 444 calories; 60 calories from fat; 7 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 129 mg cholesterol; 65 g carbohydrate; 31 g protein; 7 g fiber; 338 mg sodium.