Israeli Couscous Salad with Spinach, Pistachios and Lemon

This light, spring salad finds inspiration in the flavors of the Middle East.  Israeli couscous is a round, pasta-like product — you’ll find it with dried grains and legumes at many grocery stores. Substitute orzo if you are unable to locate.  Cook the couscous like you would pasta, in plenty of water until it is past al dente — pleasantly soft when you bite into it, though not mushy.  Arugula could sub for spinach here, or a few handfuls of fresh spring herbs.  Add some blanched broccoli, crunchy celery or fennel.  Try cooked lentils instead of chickpeas.  Or leave the legumes out entirely.  Zest the lemon before juicing, for easiest handling.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous (or about 3 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Large pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Zest of one very clean lemon
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 3 red radishes, finely diced
  • 1 small bunch spinach, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

 

Method:

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions, like pasta, in a full pot of water.  Cook until soft to the bite, rather than al dente like pasta (approximately 20 minutes or more, depending on the size of the couscous).  Drain and rinse lightly in cool water.  Cool.
  2. Whisk oil together with lemon juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Toss dressing with couscous, zest, carrot, onion, radish, spinach and chickpeas in a large bowl to combine.  Crumble feta cheese over the top and gently fold in.  Serve at room temperature.
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