Thursday, April 12, 2012

Couscous and chickpeas and lemons...OH MY!

Warm weather is just around the corner, folks, and we're going to need some sunny side dishes, preferably ones that hold up for long stretches on the picnic or potluck table. So I've got one for you, and it's colorful, extremely flavorful, has interesting textures, and is downright DELICIOUS! If your grocery store doesn't carry Israeli couscous, try your local co-op/health food store, or substitute Acini de Pepe pasta instead.

Israeli Coucous and Chickpea Salad with Lemony Dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (though a cup of halved cherry tomatoes would have been preferable if I had them on hand)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
zest of one lemon/juice of two lemons
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground celery
squirt of sriracha
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, large dice

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Fry the couscous until it starts to brown. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for six minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the couscous sit for another 3-5 minutes covered. Combine the cooked couscous and everything else except the avocado in a large bowl and mix (gently) until well combined. Taste to correct seasonings. Then tenderly mix in the avocado chunks just before serving. May serve room temperature or chilled.

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