Today's recipe comes from blogging friend Annie of Churches of Venice. Annie writes:
I found this recipe on the McCormick spice website after a friend brought me a big bag of cinnamon from Vietnam and I started looking for savory recipes to use it in. The recipe was created by Suzanne Goins from the Los Angeles restaurant Luques.
I use whole wheat couscous and sometimes substitute dried apricots for the dates. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Vietnamese cinnamon is pretty strong so if you're using regular cinnamon, you might want to use a little bit more. This is a great party/potluck 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
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
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.
I made this delicious couscous salad for lunch last week and my husband and I loved it. I made it almost exactly as written except for a few adjustments. I used Israeli couscous and omitted the cinnamon which we, for the most part, like only in sweets. Skipped the pinenuts due to finding that they have turned rancid in my pantry (heat in the dessert will do that to stored nuts and oils). My carrots were blanched and diced instead of shredded.
We liked all the flavors combined in a healthy and tasty salad, along with the different textures and the sweetness of the dates. It was all good and so yummy. I'm looking forward to making this salad again soon. I think it would be a fine side dish to a chicken or fish tagine. Next time I'm going to get adventurous and try to make it with cinnamon, using maybe half a teaspoon.
We ate the salad with a delicious Moroccan chicken recipe I found on Amy's blog called Roast Chicken with Preserved Lemon.
Thank you for sharing this great recipe, Annie.