Warm Couscous Salad with Avocado, Cranberries, and Feta

April 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

J:  So, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to eat this week, and remembered that I had most of a box of couscous in my pantry left over from making these mac ‘n’ cheese burgers.  I decided that, yes, couscous has an extraordinary shelf life, but it was about time that I used up the rest of that box.  So, what to do?  I settled on a riff on a salad that I used to make all the time in college: it used spinach as the base, and had feta, dried cranberries, avocado, and almonds, and a little bit of light balsamic dressing.  I decided to throw in the same mix-ins, but leave out the spinach and add one or two other ingredients I thought might go with couscous.  For instance, I knew I wanted a spice, and Erik suggested turmeric, so I threw in some of that and it worked really nicely.

This salad turned out just the way I wanted it.  It’s so delicious and so, so easy, and it’s even pretty healthy for you!  You can have it as a main course or as a side, and while I prefer it to be just a bit warm, you could serve it cold as well.  It’s got nice fresh flavors, and it would be great to take on a picnic or some other outing to enjoy the lovely spring weather!

One last note: I made this with 3/4 box of couscous, so I’ve scaled up the recipe to be for a full box.  Most of the amounts for the mix-ins can be adjusted to your own taste, so feel free to play around with them to get proportions that you like.

dramatic lighting!

Warm Couscous Salad with Avocado, Cranberries, and Feta
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 box plain couscous
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 small/medium avocados, cubed
1 c feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 – 3/4 c dried cranberries
1/2 – 3/4 c almonds, sliced or chopped (mine were pre-sliced)
2 – 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

this is all you need! (plus turmeric, which i forgot to include in the photo)

So, start out by getting a pot of water boiling for the couscous (for a full box, you should need something like 1 1/2 c water).  Add a generous pinch of salt and about 1 tbsp of olive oil to the water.

While that is coming to a boil, prep the ingredients that need prepping: chop your parsley and almonds (if you didn’t get pre-sliced ones), and cube your avocado(s).  You can see that mine are already scored: the way I cube avocados is just by taking a small knife and slicing the avocado into a crosshatch pattern while it’s still in the skin.  Make sure you slice all the way through to the skin, but be careful your knife doesn’t pierce it, come out the other side, and cut you!  Then, when you’re ready to add the avocado, take a spoon and just scoop out the flesh.  It should fall apart nicely into cubes.

When your water reaches a boil, remove it from the heat, pour in the couscous, and cover the pot.  Let it sit for 5-7 minutes so it can absorb the water.  When it’s done, fluff with a fork.

Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.  Add the turmeric first, and stir well to make sure it gets evenly distributed — I added the turmeric at the same time as I added everything else, and there were a few clumps of couscous that were decidedly un-turmeric-y, so this might help you avoid that.  Once you’ve stirred in the turmeric, just add all of the other ingredients.

look how colorful!

Stir well — and that’s it!  Serve it up.  Seriously, guys, this might be my new favorite go-to recipe when I’m feeling lazy but need food.  If you have 10 minutes, you can make this — and unless you are deathly allergic to any of the ingredients, you SHOULD make this!  There’s pretty much no downside to a dish this versatile and awesomely tasty.  Enjoy!

irresistibly pretty, delicious, AND healthy!

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