Recipe: Cranberry & Nut Israeli Couscous Salad

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 I saw that it was entirely diffferent. It’s puffier, this is what it looks like (the other couscous looks a bit like sand)…

Israeli CousCous []
Israeli CousCous []
This is the description from

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

israeli couscous with cranberries and pecans


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

NOTE: I added 2 1/2 oranges, cut into wedges (the other half is juiced in the above steps) – this made the recipe over the top good!


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.

This is what I did:

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…

T A D A ! !
T A D A ! !

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…

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Meatless Monday recipe… Penne with Spinach, Feta and Olives!


Here is a recipe that will make you flip. It’s so easy. It’s healthy. It’s QUICK and DELICIOUS. This is another good one from Cooking Light Magazine! If you need a meatless Monday meal, here it is! It’s great paired with a small salad… enjoy, it’s one of my favorites! Click HERE to go directly to the website so it’s quick and easy to print, or see below!

Penne with Spinach, Feta, and Olives


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 cups hot cooked penne (about 12 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese


  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pasta, spinach, olives, capers, and cheese; toss well.

Cooking Light
MAY 1998

I said it was easy, didn’t I? Can’t get any easier than that! Catch you back here tomorrow!