Couscous Salad – A Side Dish

Cooking gives me a chance to expand my creativity and sense of taste. For someone who gets easily bored with food, learning and trying many combinations of ingredients, spices, and herbs is important. Recently I tried to expand my salad creativity. Though preparing salad isn’t cooking, finding a good balance and combination of color, taste, and texture matters as much as it is in cooking.

One day I had been in the mood for a hearty salad. I had couscous, garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes, baby arugula, and artichoke hearts. For the vinaigrette, I wanted something lemony and tangy but with a kick. I thought of my good friend Deniz while making this salad. Many moons ago, she taught me that couscous and garbanzo beans (and other fresh veggies too) made such a good combo.

I did this version of mine in no time at all. The result was this substantial and nourishing salad that worked well as a side dish to my grilled halibut or sea scallops (which I also served with my roasted butternut squash with Gouda and pine nuts).

Here’s how I make the salad:

  • Bring ½ cup of chicken stock to a boil
  • Turn off the heat and pour ½ cup of couscous, stir, cover, and let it sit for a minute. Once the couscous absorbs all of the liquid it swells up and becomes cooked and tender.
  • In a salad bowl mix the cooked couscous, a can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), a handful of grape tomatoes (halved), a cup of baby arugula, and a few marinated artichoke hearts.
  • In a smaller bowl whisk ¼ cup of olive oil, salt, black pepper, a teaspoon of minced garlic, chili powder, lemon juice (from one lemon). Add a tablespoon of Sriracha hot chili sauce or a teaspoon of Tabasco hot sauce for an extra punch.
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette on the salad and mix
  • Serve 2-3 people 
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