Israeli Coucous Salad – getting out of a rut

I’ve been in a salad rut. Knowing it’s an easy way to incorporate veggies into my diet, I usually make a kale or an orzo pasta salad for packed lunches. Both delicious but after consuming it on a regular basis, my palate is bored.
I came across this recipe while browsing through the aisles of Trader Joe’s. I love Israeli couscous because of its chewy texture (although it’s still pasta like, made from semolina wheat). What piqued my interest in this recipe was the use of cinnamon. Such an earthy spice and very Middle Eastern. Here’s an extra nudge–you may actually have a lot of these ingredients in your fridge/pantry, so give this EASY recipe try 🙂
 couscous salad
Note: In the picture, I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend which includes orzo, red quinoa, Israeli couscous, and garbanzo beans or you can find a box of Israeli Couscous (see below). Use the one you like. Both are great. For the frozen beans, I found frozen mukimame beans at Ralphs (can find them at Target too) and they look like edamame beans. Adds a nutty flavor and protein to the salad.

food item
Israeli Coucous salad (adapted from Trader Joe’s box recipe)
Serves 4 (for lunch or as dinner side)
2 TB butter, divided
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 1/2 cup (8 oz) Israeli couscous (dried)
1 cinnamon stick
1 3/4 cup of water or chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mukimame beans (frozen; similar to edamame)
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, minced
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
black pepper

Toast pine nuts over low heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. In a small pot, boil 2 cups of water. When water is boiling, add frozen beans and simmer until the color turns bright green (about a minute). Drain and set aside.
Melt 2 TB of butter in a small pot. Add couscous, cinnamon stick, and stir often until couscous slightly browns. Add water or broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley or cilantro, green onions, pine nuts, raisins, mukimame beans, lemon juice, and zest. Season with black pepper and more salt if needed. Add olive oil if necessary.

This salad works great for a packed lunch or for dinner coupled with grilled chicken or fish.
Hope you enjoy it!
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2 thoughts on “Israeli Coucous Salad – getting out of a rut

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