Nutty side goes well with chicken, lamb

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The most taxing part of making this nutty-tasting side dish is cutting the carrots. The most important thing is for the carrot pieces to be the same size, for even cooking.

Serve with roast chicken or lamb.

Chickpea, Apricot and Carrot Pilaf With Toasted Pecans

6 servings (makes 5 cups)

Toast the nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and lightly browned, stirring often to keep them from burning.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for optional garnish

1 bunch scallions, white and light-green parts, thinly cut crosswise

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces carrots, scrubbed well and cut into ¼-inch dice

2 ounces dried apricots, cut into ¼-inch dice

1½ cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

½ teaspoon sugar

1 cup plain dried couscous

1 cup home-cooked or no-salt-added chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted, plus more for optional garnish

Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the scallions and cumin; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the scallions soften. Add the carrots, apricots, ½ cup of the broth and the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

While the carrot mixture is cooking, bring the remaining 1 cup of broth to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in the couscous and a small pinch of salt; cover and remove from the heat. After 5 minutes, transfer the couscous to a mixing bowl and fluff with a fork to separate the grains.

Stir the chickpeas into the carrot mixture; once they are warmed through, fold that vegetable mixture into the couscous, along with the toasted pecans. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed. Garnish with toasted pecans and a drizzle of oil, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 250 calories, 8 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar