Couscous Salad

Mark has a tendency to win random contests.  I keep hoping that one of these days he’ll win the lottery – or maybe a really expensive trip – but so far most of his winnings come in the form of concert tickets, DVDs and other paraphernalia.  Over the summer, he won a free copy of Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook  from Cool Hunting.  I read Bittman’s work in The New York Times pretty regularly, but I’ve never tried any of his recipes.

This week, while trying to develop a relatively healthy post-vacation menu, I decided to see what Mr. Bittman recommended in the salad department.  After spending a week eating out           (of food trucks), I was eager to try something really and truly new.  I opted to test out his Couscous Salad with Pecans and Cranberries.

Actually, I changed the recipe to Couscous Salad with Almonds and Cranberries.  I decided to go with a slightly cheaper nut.  Who knew pecans were so expensive?

I was a little nervous because I’ve never made couscous before.  It turns out that it’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever made.  I combined 1 cup of couscous with 1 1/2 cups of water, brought it to a boil, turned off the heat, covered the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Seriously.  That was it.  I’m still pretty amazed.

While the couscous sat for twenty minutes, I was able to chop almonds and scallions, shred carrots, zest and squeeze lemons and measure cranberries and cumin in a large bowl.

The last step was to add the couscous and a bit of olive oil to the bowl.  It was the perfect recipe for a late weeknight.  It kept very well and it lasted several days – a small serving was actually pretty filling.  The best part is that I still have extras for most of the ingredients.  I just need to pick up some more almonds and I’ll be set for another week of lunch.  This one is a keeper, for sure.

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