Some weeks I have my Shabbat menu all-set on Monday – I plan carefully to go food shopping early in the week and then I spend Thursday night and Friday afternoon preparing my meal. And then other weeks, my husband and I invite friends at the last minute and have to throw something together from our pantry. My Israeli Salad Couscous side dish is one of those dishes that came together out of necessity at the last minute.
As it so happens it was a huge hit, and now makes it into our weeknight and Shabbat dinner menus. We prefer to use Israeli Couscous, versus regular couscous, which is a slightly thicker, very small round pasta – not as delicate as traditional Middle Eastern couscous.
Want to make this dish a tad healthier? Try a whole wheat variety, like this version I just picked up from Fairway!
1 cup Israeli cous cous
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1 scallion, white and green parts diced
2 Tbsp diced red onion
3/4 cup diced cucumber
3/4 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Cook cous cous until slightly toasted and covered evenly with oil. Add water and bring to boil. Add salt. Cover pot and cook on low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
If cous cous starts to get sticky, drizzle 1 tsp of olive and mix.
In a medium bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, parsley, mint, salt, pepper and sumac (if using). Add pepper, scallion, red onion, cucumber and tomatoes and toss together until coated with dressing.
Add cous cous to salad and mix until thoroughly incorporated.