Sunday, August 28, 2011

Couscous-chickpea Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing


I found this recipe last Thanksgiving when I was cooking for my meat eating husband, sometimes meat eating father, my vegetarian mother and myself. (My daughter was too young to partake in much of the Thanksgiving meal) You're probably thinking, what? Couscous salad for Thanksgiving? Well, I wanted something that would please everyone so I went a different route, neither American nor Indian, but Middle Eastern!

Everyone loved this recipe and I still make it often. Sometimes I saute chicken marinaded with lemon juice, olive oil and fresh mint and add it to the salad for my husband to make it a full meal.

Click here for the original recipe I used.

Surprisingly, I don't change a thing when I make the recipe myself. But I do have to split it up into two versions, one with tomatoes and no feta cheese for me, and the other without tomatoes and lots of feta cheese for the hubby. Bambino eats my version since she likes tomatoes. I usually mix a little hummus into the  salad for her as well.

Dressing Ingredients:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (approximately 5 limes)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger (Store the rest of your ginger in your freezer, it will last very long!)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Salad:
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 cup chopped tomato (I use 2 roma tomatoes)
1 cup chopped peeled cucumber
1 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 cups of freshly cooked garbanzo beans or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

To prepare dressing, combine first 8 ingredients and stir with a whisk

To prepare salad , bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, and gradually stir in couscous, raisins and tumeric. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Place couscous mixture in a large bowl  Add tomato and remaining ingredients. Drizzle with dressing, stir well to coat.

The recipe says to cover and chill for one hour, but I like to eat it at room temperature. When I eat the leftovers I usually warm it up for about a minute.


Amateur cooking difficulty scale: 6 
There are many steps and components, so it does take time to chop all the vegetables and measure everything out exactly, but if you have the time, it's worth it!

Since it's a lot of work for just a salad, I like to turn it into a main dish by adding the chicken for my hubby. For a vegetarian, I think it's enough for a meal and I also like to eat some fresh bread and hummus on the side.

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