Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ruby Pearl Couscous with Tarragon-Mustard Cream

This is a beautiful and elegant dish to serve if you're having a dinner party.  I used to serve this entree when I worked as a chef at a restaurant and our customers loved it.  Of course, I used a different protein because I wasn't vegan back then, but this version tastes so much better.  I used Gardein Chick'n Fillets because that is what I had in my freezer, but you can make a herb-panko crusted tempeh, seitan or tofu.

Beets, Tarragon and Mustard compliment each other really well--the flavors are just phenomenal together.  If you have a juicer then making the couscous is really simple.  If not, then you'll just have to do one extra step, but it's still really easy.

Tarragon-Mustard Cream Sauce:

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tbsp minced shallots
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup dry pale sherry
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup cashew cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp minced fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Drain cashews and place in a blender with filtered water and blend on high for 3-4 minutes until creamy.  If using a high-speed blender you do not have to strain.  If not, then strain cashew milk before using, set aside.  You will have extra milk left over...add a little agave and use it with your breakfast cereal.
  • Heat a small sauce pan on medium.  Add olive oil, shallots and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Add white wine and pale sherry and cook until reduced by half.
  • Add vegetable stock, Dijon mustard, agave and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and then add cashew cream and cook for about a minute longer until creamy.
  • Stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Set aside and keep warm.
Beet Ruby Pearl Couscous:
(Serves 2)

1 small-medium beet, washed and also peeled if you don't have a juicer
1 cup pearl couscous
2 1/2 cups filtered water
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Note:  If you do not have a juicer then, wash, peel and dice beet.  Place in a sauce pan with water to cover and cook until soft.  Place beet and liquid in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  You want to have at least a 1/4 cup beet juice when finished.  Then proceed with the following directions to cook the couscous.

  • Wash beet and place in the juicer.  You want to have about a 1/4 cup beet juice when finished.
  • In a small sauce pan, add filtered water, beet juice, couscous and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. 
  • Cook until couscous is soft and mostly all the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently to prevent couscous from sticking.  You may need to add additional water.
  • Drain couscous really well, but do not rinse.  
  • Place back in the pot, stir in olive oil, cover and keep warm.
Other Ingredients:

Protein of choice:  Gardein, Tempeh, Seitan or Tofu
2-3 cups organic baby spinach
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Micro Greens for garnish

  • Cook protein according to package directions, keep warm and set aside.
  • In a saute pan, heat olive oil and saute spinach just until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • To plate, spoon ruby couscous on the plate, top with sauteed spinach, sliced protein on a bias, drizzle with tarragon mustard sauce and garnish with micro greens.
  • And serve with a fruity Pinot Noir!


  1. I can't wait to try this, it looks amazing, but in the ingredient list for the Tarragon-Mustard Cream Sauce, it doesn't say how much tarragon to use or whether fresh or dried...

  2. I just made this. It is FANTASTIC! The sauce is thin so I added a little corn starch slurry to it to thicken it up. Otherwise made no other adjustments and it turned out great! I will definitely be making this for all my non-vegan friends. Thanks for the great recipe!