Culinary authority Ghillie James' new book, Amazing Grains, is full of sweet and savory recipes for any meal of the day. Learning how to work with a variety of grains — and there are a lot — will expand your cooking repertoire without breaking the bank. Make this couscous salad as a side to your favorite roasted or grilled protein.
This recipe is an adaptation of the classic Persian jeweled rice, traditionally served at weddings and other celebrations, and usually containing pomegranates, herbs and nuts for color and texture. This couscous recipe follows the same lines. In this salad, the jewels are the nuts, carrots, cucumber and pomegranate seeds. Don’t worry if one element is missing — for example, you can swap the pomegranate for dried apricot, the cucumber for blanched chopped green beans or the pine nuts for flaked almonds or pistachios. Just make it colorful!
- 1 1/4 cups couscous
- 1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 heaping tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- a pinch or 2 of sumac (optional)
- 1/2 large cucumber, diced
- 1 carrot, grated
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
- a handful of mint leaves
- a handful of flat-leaf parsley
- 1 1/4 cups feta, crumbled (optional)
- Put the couscous in a bowl, then pour in the boiling hot stock, cover with plastic wrap and leave to fluff up for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts and sunflower or pumpkin seeds in a dry pan and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
- When it’s ready, add the oil and lemon juice and some seasoning to the couscous and use a fork to stir and separate.
- When cool, add all the remaining ingredients, stir together and serve.
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