As grains go couscous doesn't have a lot of cachet. It's not as exotic as quinoia. It's not as pleasantly toothy as brown rice. It's not as earthy as buckwheat groats. And it's not as nutritious as millet.
It's not even really a grain at all. Well, it is but, it's complicated. Couscous is wheat. Wheat and semolina that's been ground and dried and rolled into tiny, tiny beads. It's kind of more like a pasta when you think about it. Couscous is convenient and bland and easy to cook. End of story. Or is it?
It's not, because if we were to talk about Israeli couscous, or as it's also known, toasted couscous, all bets are off. Israeli couscous is toasted instead of dried and the beads are tiny instead of tiny, tiny. It's a game changer. Suddenly here's a couscous with a bit of character and presence, one that can represent in a grain salad; a couscous that's more than just a bed for a leg of lamb.
It holds it's own in this grain salad along side chick peas and carrots, dried cranberries and toasted pine nuts. It's the chewy note in this chewy, crunchy, sweet and lemony dish. A dish that's hefty enough to be a main course for lunch as well as a side for dinner. And it's a perfect salad to have in your arsenal now that BBQ season is upon us.
Israeli couscous salad
1 box Israeli couscous, cooked according to the package instructions
1 cup grapes, cut in quarters
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of one lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
chive blossoms it you got um
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
In a large bowl combine cooked Israeli couscous, grapes, chick peas, carrot, celery, parsley, chives and cranberries; mix well. In a small bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Pour over salad and mix well. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chive blossoms.