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Sunday Salads: Couscous Salad

samplersThis weekend, it was my turn to submit a recipe to the Salad Samplers gang, and I really didn't have to think about it very long. This is one of my favorite salads. I found the recipe on the Internet a few years ago after my friend Yonnie brought me a big bag of cinnamon back from Vietnam and I was looking for ways to use it that weren't desserts.

Vietnamese cinnamon is amazing with very rich flavor, but this salad is good with regular cinnamon too. I take this salad to pretty much every summer party and cook-out, and people always ask me for the recipe. It's a fun dish to play around with too. The orginal recipe calls for dates, which are good but very sweet, and I often sub dried apricots instead. In the photo below, I'd used toasted pepitas which I almost burned. :)

Couscous salad

Recipe is below. Only a couple more weeks of salads left! Next up is Bugulu's Potato Salad.

This recipe was created by Suzanne Goins from the Los Angeles restaurant Luques. I found it on the McCormick spice website. Vietnamese cinnamon is pretty strong so if you're using regular cinnamon, you might want to use a little bit more.

I use whole wheat couscous and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth (and you can even just use water).

This is a great party/potluck/cook-out recipe (it keeps and travels well).

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Dates & Cinnamon

3 green onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 (10 ounce) package couscous

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and
drained
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
(optional)

Directions

Finely dice white end of green onions. Slice green parts of green onions and reserve for salad. Gently cook white onion pieces in olive oil 5-7 minutes in a medium saucepan. Stir in chicken broth, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil; add couscous. Cover and remove pan from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and olive oil in a small bowl.

Fluff couscous with a fork; put in a large bowl. Toss in sliced green onions, chickpeas, carrots, dates, pinenuts, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; add vinaigrette and toss again. Serve right away or chill. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

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Comments (10)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, your salad looks very delicious. I totally loved your recipe. I will try it next time with Vietnamese Cinnamon, I couldn't find any at the grocery store so I used regaular cinnamon. I didn't have a chance to prepare a side dish so I ate just my salad last night and it was very satisfying. I have some left over so tonight I think I will grill something like a chicken breast and add it to the couscous like Nancy said. Yummy! Thanks again for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. btw, I checked out the Small bites Sign up thread and was impressed with the selection so far. I have been trying to pick an ingredient and find a recipe so I can sign up but I can't seem to decide. I'll keep looking.

Thanks again for this wonderful recipe Annie! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

nancyhol:

Annie, the salad was GREAT! Lot of it too, so we can have it another couple of times. Did your recipe say how many it served?

Thanks for the recipe!

Annie, I love the look of your salad. This is an amazing recipe, we really enjoyed it every time, it is loaded with flavors. For some reason, when I was "snacking" on it yesterday, I thought "hmm, this would be great with Thanksgiving meal", of course I will probably be making it before then.
Thanks Annie.

Kathy, I'm glad you liked it. If you get the urge to try Vietnamese cinnamon, you can order it from Penzey's Spices. I like Nancy's idea about adding some chicken too. Glad you are thinking about signing up for "Small Bites"!

Nancy, the recipe that I printed off the Internet says that it serves 8 people. Sorry I forgot to include that info. Glad you guys liked it.

Candi, making this for Thanksgiving is a great idea! It does have those fall flavors, I think. I like holiday recipes that you can make in advance too.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Hi Annie, nice shot of your delicious salad! You always take the most interesting food photos.

Next time I'm going to use dried apricots and pepitas. I told my husband that we should try it also adding a wee bit of cinnamon. This recipe is so good that it might change our taste regarding cinnamon in non-sweet dishes.

Hope you're having a great Sunday! ;)

Maria, let me know if you try it with cinnamon. I think it works well in this recipe.

sheri:

Annie this sounds like a wonderful salad.I am going to try it this weekend!

Sheri, I hope you like it!

Anne:

My goodness, that looks yummy! I just commented to Kathy that I've never made couscous. But I might try this recipe, it sounds quite easy and very delicious! I'll probably stick with dates though, I love 'em :) Thanks for sharing this!

Thanks Anne, I hope you like it too. MarciaB said that next time, she is going to use both dates and apricots; I might give that a try too.

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