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.
Sometimes you need a break from all the heavy meat and kugels that are typical during Passover. This salad is a refreshing treat and can either be served as part of your Seder menu or during the week alongside a piece of grilled chicken or fish. Enjoy!
Rachel Korycan lives in Washington, D.C. and is a Development Coordinator at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
1 package of arugula or lettuce of your choice
4 blood or navel oranges, chilled, peeled, excess pith removed, and sliced crosswise
1 small thinly sliced red onions
2 peeled, pitted and sliced avocados
For the dressing:
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-3 Tablespoons honey or sugar
1 Tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped fresh spearmint
1/4 cup olive oil
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the juices, zest, salt, cinnamon, honey, orange blossom water and spearmint. Slowly whisk in the oil.
To make the salad: Arrange the greens on chilled individual serving plates or on a chilled platter. Divide the orange slices, red onions and avocados among the serving plates, or arrange in overlapping sections on the platter. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.