Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Becky's Original Israeli Couscous

This is a great versatile side dish and a huge crowd pleaser! Enjoy it for your next barbecue or as a fancy side for chicken or fish. The great thing about this salad is that you can swap out different ingredients. See the variations listed at the end.
There is a little debate about how much sugar should be used. You can vary it from 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on your sweet tooth.

Picture courtesy of Deana Gunn from Cooking With All Things Trader Joes. For more on my interview with Deana: http://blog.cookingwithtraderjoes.com/2010/06/23/beckys-israeli-couscous-salad.aspx

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sugar

1 box Trader Joe's Israeli Couscous (found in the pasta/rice aisle
1/3 cup unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 oz feta cheese crumbled

1.) Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2.) Follow cooking instructions on the Israeli Couscous box. Add cooked couscous to the bowl containing the dressing. Toss with the dressing and let it cool (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally. The couscous will absorb the dressing as it cools.

3.) Add the almonds, cranberries, and basil. Toss the feta cheese in lightly. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Serves 4

If you don't have Israeli couscous, substitute 1 1/2 cups of dried orzo or TJ's Harvest Grains. Cook until al dente, drain and then add to the dressing.

If you don't have fresh basil, substitute fresh parsley, mint or a combination of both. If you don't like almonds, substitute toasted pignoli nuts.

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