Top | How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
(recipe, Mark Bittman)
The texture of couscous in broth is extremely comforting, so if you have couscous and tomato paste in your pantry, a bowl of this soup should be in your very near future. If you have no fennel or celery, substitute carrots, zucchini, green beans, or even chopped greens in the same quantity. If you have already-cooked couscous, use 3 cups of it instead of raw, stirring it in after the soup comes to a boil and reducing the cooking time to 1 minute. The texture will be somewhat thinner, however, and the wheat flavor won't be quite as pronounced.
Za'atar is a tangy, nutty seasoning used throughout the Arab world. To make your own: Crumble with your fingers 2 Tbsp. dried thyme into a small jar or bowl. Stir in 2 Tbsp. ground sumac, 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, and, to taste, salt and freshly ground pepper. Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to a month. Culinate editor's note: In the Culinate kitchen we often use Homemade Veggie Bouillon in recipes that call for vegetable stock or broth. If you use the bouillon, don't add salt while cooking the soup; salt to taste once the soup has finished cooking.