I love the abundance of zucchinis available in the summer–patty pan, crooked neck, endless shades of yellows and greens. They’re so beautiful and I love the range of delicate flavors of them, depending on the variety. I love cooking but have gone through phases during COVID where I’m simply tired of my own food or just don’t have the energy to make much besides a smoothie. I am not a complicated or fussy cook and try to keep the number of ingredients to a minimum. This dish is perfect for a summer Shabbat dinner or lunch.I love simply roasted vegetables and tofu. Just slice, add some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake. Nothing else is needed and I’ll often sit down to a heaping plate of some combination of roasted veggies and tofu or add them to a salad.
Couscous is also a bit of a miracle food–just add hot water, cover and let sit for about 30 minutes until ready. It’s a one pot grain that is so versatile and easy to use. This dish uses couscous and roasted zucchini and tofu as a base and adds a bit of texture and deep flavor with preserved lemons. I love preserved lemons and generously use them in this dish to make their flavor dominate the otherwise bland tofu and sweet zucchini. Preserved lemons are simple to make: slice lemons into quarters, add salt and leave in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Using leftover lemons after juicing them also works.
The parsley adds a nice slightly bitter flavor. I’ve found that my parsley plants survive indoor winters and thrive again outside in the summer. I never stop appreciating running outside to the planet to grab some leaves and add them to whatever dish I am preparing.
2-4 cups cooked couscous (I got some awesome whole wheat couscous at Belle Garde this past spring–it gave me a whole new understanding of couscous)
1 large or 2-3 medium zucchinis, sliced into half circles. If you have access to a variety, you could choose different ones though I made this with green ones
1 block tofu, drained and sliced into strips
4-5 preserved lemon quarter slices, chopped. Piths are usually removed but it’s fine to keep them. It’s just more lemon flavor
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On parchment paper lined baking sheets, add zucchinis and tofu. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45-50 minutes, flipping half way through as the ingredients brown.
- Prepare the couscous: 2: 1, grain to water ratio.
- Chop the lemons and parsley.
- When the baked items are finished, remove from the oven.
- In a bowl or platter, place couscous on the bottom. Top with tofu strips and zucchini. Sprinkle the lemons and parsley on top. Drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground pepper.