Lebanese CousCous Salad

DSC_0613Tennis match today and I brought a couscous salad that celebrated spring.  At a recent Williams Sonoma sale I picked up Lebanese CousCous. The grains are pearl-like in their round pea-sized shapes.  The texture is soft and slightly chewy when cooked. Although any couscous would work fine in this recipe, the Lebanese style is a refreshing change. The tartness of the dried cherries compliments the mild cucumber and acid in the lemon juice.

Recipe for Lebanese CousCous Salad:
2 cups dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked until soft
2 cups Lebanese Couscous
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium sized onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 orange or red sweet pepper, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 avocado, chopped (optional)

You can use canned chick peas, but soaking the dried beans overnight and cooking them for about one hour adds to the flavor and texture in this recipe. In a medium sized sauté pan heat the olive oil, butter, onions and garlic. Once onions and garlic begin to brown, slowly add the vegetable broth. Stir occasionally until onions are aromatic and begin to caramelize. Remove from stove.
In a separate saucepan heat 2 cups of water until boiling. Add the couscous and cook for about 20 minutes until slightly soft and tender. Drain. Let the couscous cool before adding to a mixing bowl. Carefully add the cooled and cooked onion and garlic. Add remaining ingredients one at a time. Serve immediately.


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