AnnieNC of Churches in Venice had the pleasure of selecting this week's salad. These are her notes:
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.
Our salad for dinner last night was great - another keeper! It seems like I have said that about each of the weekly salads we have made, but they have ALL been yummy!
I used chopped dates, as the recipe called for, but I think I will try dried apricots next time, as suggested by Annie. I also threw a few more toasted pine nuts on top, along with some chopped chives that I had in the fridge.
It was a great accompaniment to grilled chicken. The recipe made a lot - probably enough for six or eight as a side dish. I am also thinking about adding some kind of protein to the salad to turn it into a one dish meal - maybe pork or chicken chunks.
Here are my ingredients:
And the finished product: