Spinach and Mushroom Israeli Cous Cous Bake

Ok so the title of this recipe says Israeli cous cous, but really I used this Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe’s that’s so much more.  It’s got that pearly cous cous along with orzo, quinoa, and garbanzo beans.  Trader Joe’s always takes it to the next level, even when it comes to grains.  Really, though, the Israeli cous cous and orzo are the standouts so if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s, I recommend using Israeli cous cous to achieve the same effect.  While this grain mix is great when simply tossed with veggies and other goodies, I decided to bake it up to make it extra hearty.

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First, cook up about 1 1/4 c. of the grain mix according to package directions (or use a rice cooker like I did).  While that’s cooking, I prepped all my mix-ins.  I sauteed 3 shallots along with most of a package of mushrooms.  Then I cooked up one bag of steamfresh spinach in the microwave.  And side note: steamfresh spinach is a miracle.  It takes no time and cooks up just like regular frozen spinach only you don’t have to wring out any moisture.  Genius.  As the veggies finish cooking, mix them together.  I also grated up about 5 oz of cheese.  I used a parsley chive flavored cheese I found, but you could also simply use white cheddar and add in fresh parsley and chives.  Mix this in as well and then, once the grain mix is done cooking, mix that all in with some salt.

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After mixing allllll the ingredients together, before pouring into the baking dish

Finally, beat one egg with about 1/3 c. fat free half and half and incorporate it into the whole mixture.  This will act as a binding agent, but you don’t need much since you have a little cheese in there and the grain mix releases some of its own natural starches.

Pour the whole thing into a baking dish and bake at 400 for about 30 minutes.  Before (lef) and after (right) pics above.

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Up close and personal

This casserole feels like a starch but is so much healthier.  It packs an entire package of spinach in there!  There is spinach in every bite, but it’s not like eating a salad.  I was a bit concerned that there was too much healthy stuff in there (light on the cheese, heavy on the spinach) and my beau wouldn’t like it.  I was happy to see, however, that he polished off 1/3 of this casserole dish is one sitting.

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Served with a nice pork tenderloin for a perfect meal