Friday, February 13, 2015

Shabbat Cooking: Moroccan Spiced Couscous Salad

A lot of potluck Shabbat meals happen 'round these parts and while I enjoy them, coming up with something healthy and creative to make does not come easy. I was asked to make a side dish for dinner this Friday night. something that I myself could eat, considering that the remaining guests are omni eaters. I finally settled on some sort of grain salad. The options were either barley or couscous and seeing as couscous cooks faster, whole wheat couscous it was going to be. That was the easier part. Finding a recipe that worked with what I had around and that was appealing was the real challenge. What can I say? I'm picky. When I exhausted Pinterest and the rest of the internet, I turned to my book shelf. One of the first books I picked up was.. you guessed it, Thug Kitchen. Almost immediately I saw the recipe for the Moroccan Spiced Couscous. Although I gave the book a lukewarm review, I decided to give it a go knowing that I'd doctor it to bulk it up anyway.
The recipe really is simple. You pour some couscous into a container or bowl. Add some spices including cinnamon and cumin then pour some boiling water over. When the couscous finishes doing its job, you fluff it up and add some oil, rice wine vinegar, some spinach and orange segments. Me? I took a different tack. I made the couscous mixture as written in the recipe, upping the salt (after tasting how it turned out) and the other spices because I used more couscous than stated. I added about three cups of cooked chickpeas, a handful of craisins, some chopped red onion and some canned mandarin oranges that I ran a knife through. I went with the rice wine vinegar but instead of the oil I opted to use some liquid from the can of mandarin oranges. The result? YUM! This is going to be a go to around here and an easy pick for the next time someone asks me to bring a side dish for a potluck meal. 

Moroccan Spiced Couscous Salad
adapted from the Thug Kitchen

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
1/2- 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp liquid reserved from oranges
2 cups cooked chickpeas
handful of craisins
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can of mandarin oranges, chopped

Pour the couscous into a bowl or container. Add all of the spices and stir to combine. Pour the boiling water over, stir quickly and then cover. Allow to absorb about 5-8 minutes. Remove the cover and fluff up the couscous. Add the vinegar and the reserved liquid from the oranges. Stir. Add the chickpeas, craisins, onion and oranges. Blend well. Taste for seasoning. Serve! 

Shabbat Shalom!

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