I found this recipe while searching for a couscous recipe that had cranberries and nuts in it, I had an idea what to use for dressing, but ran across this recipe on Epicurious – it used spices that I definitely would not have used, but am so glad that I did. This recipe is one that was apparently created at Whole Foods. I checked their site for the recipe, but it wasn’t there. I did find it on Epicurious. This is a great side dish/salad that goes well with pretty much everything! It can be served warm or cold. This is a quick and easy recipe that will put a smile on your face! I added fresh orange wedges to it, and that makes all the difference, it takes it from a really good recipe to a blow your mind recipe. Yep, just with a few oranges!
Note: This recipe calls for Israeli couscous. I always thought of couscous as the tiny grain like pasta, which I never cared for, but after reading about it on Cookthink.com I saw that it was entirely diffferent. It’s puffier, this is what it looks like (the other couscous looks a bit like sand)…
This is the description from Cookthink.com:
Like couscous, so-called Israeli couscous are small, round, pasta-like granules made from semolina and wheat flour.
While the Israeli company Osem claims to have “invented” Israeli couscous in the 1950s, it is simply a marketing term for what was known previously as North African berkukes or Palestinian matfoul and popular in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Unlike familiar small, yellow semolina-based North African couscous, Israeli couscous (which is sometimes called pearl couscous) is twice as big and is toasted rather than dried. This gives it a nutty flavor and a sturdy composition that gives it a chewy bite and makes it stand up to sauce.
Israeli couscous can be used in salads, soups or as a base for chicken or fish. It works well when prepared like a rice pilaf.
Here’s the recipe – Click to print this recipe from Epicurious
2 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans, quartered
2 scallions, minced
3 tbsp canola oil (I used olive oil)
1.5 tbsp champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1 orange, zest
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the couscous. When it’s done (roughly 8-10 mins, or when it’s al dente), drain it but do not rinse. Set aside and let cool while you mince the scallions, toast and chop the pecans, and make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice, spices and salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the couscous, cranberries, pecans and scallions. Pour the well-whisked dressing over it and toss to combine.
Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors.
Set out ingredients…
Toast nuts in a dry non stick pan just until they start to turn a light brown and you can begin to smell them; beware, this step can go from good to bad quickly, so get the pan off the stove once you start to smell them roasting.
Zest your orange (not the white part) – In a bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, fresh squeezed orange juice, zest and spices…
Cut oranges into wedges or smaller pieces, however you like it… this will add a nice sweet burst of flavor- I don’t think you can have too many!
After you cook the couscous in boiling water, as you would pasta (I did mine 6 minutes and it was perfect), drain it and put it into a bowl. Then, chop your green onions…
Pour the dressing over the cooked couscous – oooowie, smells good, doesn’t it?
Add the dried cranberries and orange segments…
Add the green onions that you chopped a few minutes ago…
Then add the toasted nuts…
Now you would think that I would put a serving in a pretty little dish and take a photo… but did I? Nope… I was hungry and I totally missed this step! It would have been pretty too! We had grilled chicken, couscous and sautéed spinach – close your eyes a picture it… on a pretty plate… smell the wonderful combination of orange, roasted nuts, mmmmm… you know you want it… now go get busy! ENJOY!
Catch you back here tomorrow!
My post from a year ago… Featured Artist… Camille Przewodek!
My post from two years ago… Hootie and the Blowfish Concert…