Winter Couscous Salad Recipe
Spring is in sight and boy are we ready for it. Until then we’re in a place of squash and soul-warming food. Stored away for times like this, when hearty dishes are all you crave. So I’m calling this salad hearty, not because it’s fatty and has tons of meat but because it’s mostly couscous dotted with some tasty veggies and other treats and I think that counts for something.
This salad is great to serve to guests or to prepare at the beginning of the week and keep in your fridge to have for weekday lunches or dinners. Serve with grilled chicken breast or steak for a delicious weeknight dinner. This salad is loaded with vegetables and big flavor that make it healthy, comforting and irresistible. You can also replace the couscous with any whole grain like quinoa, or farro.
- 1 medium Butternut or Hubbard squash (or 2 cubes cubed)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 Tbl olive oil
- 2 Cups pearl couscous
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 handfuls of arugula
- 1/4 cup unsalted roasted hazelnuts or almonds
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tbl + 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbl balsamic vinegar (plus extra to drizzle on top)
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
- salt & black pepper
- pinch of chili flakes (optional)
- Peel and remove seeds from squash and cut into small cubes. In a bowl, toss the pieces with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt.
- Spread out on one or two baking sheets, and place in the oven for 15-25 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through. Remove when squash is softened and golden brown. Set aside to let cool.
- Bring the water to a boil in medium sized pot with a teaspoon of salt, when it has come to a boil add the couscous (2 cups). Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 12 minutes or until the water is absorbed (or cook according to the package). Be careful not to overcook or it will stick together. If it is cooked before the water is gone simply drain the couscous.
- Toss the couscous in a large bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let it cool in the fridge.
- In a small sauté pan, combine onion and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook over medium low heat until golden in color.
- While the onions cooking, chop hazelnuts in large pieces and set aside.
- Make the dressing by combining all ingredients and whisking together or shaking in a jar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss onions and squash with cous cous in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Next, add arugula (save a little to garnish on top), parmesan, and hazelnuts and mix together. Top with a few arugula leaves, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a bit of parmesan cheese.
Recipe and Photos by Ilana Pulda of www.ilanafreddye.com