Meatless Monday: Israeli cous cous salad

Combine cous cous with toasted walnuts and feta cheese for a filling salad.

By , Contributor

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    Pearl shaped cous cous makes for an exciting textural alternative to rice or rotini pasta in a salad.
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Efficiency is usually one of my best qualities. Whether I’m primping my hair in the morning, completing a project at work, or dicing vegetables for a stir-fry, I’m quick and logical. The same, however, cannot be said when I’m shopping at the grocery store.

Even when eggs are the only item on my list, I meander the aisles, slowly eyeing familiar shelves for inspiring ingredients. The specialty cheese section always takes me a while, and so do the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Red, green, and brown lentils, buckwheat, and barley – how’s a girl to choose?

After blocking cart traffic for several minutes on a recent trip, I settled on Israeli cous cous, to use as the base for a warm summer salad. Though it lacks the nutrients of the aforementioned lentils, the small pearl shape makes for an exciting textural alternative to rice or rotini pasta – especially with crunchy toasted walnuts and soft feta cheese.

Recommended: Stir it Up!

Notes: Many recipes call for preparing Israeli cous cous like risotto (coating it in oil, slowly adding broth), but for this one, I cooked it in a pot of boiling water, like pasta. And don’t skip on toasting the walnuts. It only takes a few minutes on the stove to really maximize their flavor (and not much longer to burn, so be watchful).

Israeli cous cous salad

2 to 3 servings
1 cup Israeli cous cous
1/3 cup walnuts, crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper

Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the Israeli cous cous with a dash of salt and let cook on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until cous cous is fluffy (but not mushy).

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in an un-oiled frying pan on medium heat, for 3 to 5 minutes, until nuts start to brown.

Combine the cooked cous cous, toasted walnuts, olive oil, onion, pepper, parsley, and feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or cold.

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The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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