Israeli Couscous Salad – #100 of the Cook’s 100

Israeli Couscous Salad, a la Whole Foods

Israeli Couscous Salad, a la Whole Foods, supposedly

This is my copy-cat recipe, which I found on Chowhound, posted by ach77.  Mainly this is because I had some Israeli couscous, and I like couscous salads in the summer.  I have visited Whole Foods stores before, but the nearest one is at least 2 hours away, so I am not as up on their regular repertoire of salads available for purchase.  I was willing to believe the poster on Chowhound that this was a tasty facsimile.

I made three diversions from the recipe ach77 posted:

  1. I had safflower oil instead of canola
  2. I used white wine vinegar, since I have no champagne vinegar, and since champagne *IS* white wine, I’m doing as well as I can.  Those of us in SE Minnesota like to DRINK our champagne (or Cava from Spain), not make vinegar out of it!
  3. I added the diced meat of 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs that were cooked in chicken broth, as a creative way to use leftovers.

I’m not sure if this will still fit in Lauri’s definition of a copy cat recipe, as I have never tasted the original, but it sure looks good, smells good, and has great flavors.  DH and I both like this with chicken… I guess I should try it without the chicken sometime, too.

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife
  • nonstick skillet (for roasting nuts)
  • pot with lid (for cooking Israeli cous cous)
  • large bowl for salad
  • small bowl for mixing dressing
  • whisk
  • rubber spatula
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • Microplane grater/zester or vegetable peeler
  • citrus reamer (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry Israeli couscous (uncooked)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 scallions
  • 3 Tbs safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • zest of one orange
  • juice of 1/2 of the zested orange
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric (or more)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • (Optional: 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cooked)

Prep:

  1. (If you’re going to use the chicken, cook it in salted water or chicken broth, in a covered pot or Dutch oven on high heat for approximately 20 minutes.  Drain the chicken, and cool it.  I did this a day ahead, and refrigerated it.  Once the chicken is cold, dice it.)
  2. Bring a pot of salted water (approximately 1 quart of water, maybe as much as 2) to a boil.  When the water is boiling, add the couscous, stirring it to prevent it from clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain it in a colander, but don’t rinse it.  Set it aside and let it cool.
  3. Dice the scallions.
  4. Toast the pecans in a dry skillet (as demonstrated here with pine nuts), then let them cool and chop them.
  5. Zest your orange with the grater, or peel off the zest with a vegetable peeler and dice it up.
  6. Combine the safflower oil, vinegar, zest, and juice from the orange with the turmeric, tarragon, and time.  Whisk together to make the dressing.  Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Put the couscous, cranberries, (chicken), pecans, and scallions in a large serving bowl.  Drizzle with the dressing, and stir until everything is well dressed.
  8. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate.  The flavors will develop and meld in the refrigerator, and get better over time.
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2 Responses to Israeli Couscous Salad – #100 of the Cook’s 100

  1. Ingrid says:

    looks yummy

  2. admin says:

    It turned out to be even tastier than I expected. I went and bought more couscous, since I knew I was cooking another chicken!

What do YOU think?