A vibrant Moroccan Couscous Salad with Spring vegetables like asparagus, spring onions and red peppers. Chickpeas add protein and more deliciousness. A vegan, nut-free and soy-free recipe.
Aren't you glad Spring's finally here?
It has been a long time coming to the Northeast this year. Desi must have switched the heating off and on a half a dozen times, and all of my sweaters are still hanging in the closet. But these last couple of days have definitely started to feel the way they should.
Jay and I have been going on long walks every evening, looking at the blooming gardens in our neighborhood. When I was in primary school, a music teacher set William Wordsworth's Daffodils to music, to make us Bombay kids, who had never set eyes on a daffodil, better remember the words. It worked -- not only do I remember the poem to this day, but now Jay's been singing it each time he sees the sunny yellow flowers clustered in almost every yard. As the daffodils fade away, and the tulips rear their pretty heads, he has replaced "daffodils" with "tulips." "A host of pink tulips," he trills, rhyme and rhythm be damned. It's rather cute.
In the kitchen, I'm trying to use the wonderful bounty of Spring vegetables in delicious new ways. This Moroccan Couscous Salad is one of them.
Asparagus is one of the joys of Spring, and although this veggie-- like most others -- is now available year-round where most of us live, it seems to taste a little extra special in Spring. In this salad, it is rather divine.
I added chickpeas to the recipe because they are another common Moroccan ingredient and they add some important protein to this dish, along with the almonds.
This is a versatile recipe, so don't restrict yourself to the veggies I used: red peppers and spring onions, along with the asparagus. You can use zucchini here or broccoli or snow peas or green beans. They will taste amazing once they are all dressed up in vibrant Moroccan spices and herbs. This is one dish where roasted eggplant would shine.
Make a pot of this and then go outside with a bottle of wine and dine al fresco amidst all the daffodils and tulips in your backyard.
For now, stay tuned after the recipe for the winner of the Frieling casserole giveaway.
Moroccan Couscous Salad with Spring Veggies
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (drained)
- 20 inch spears of asparagus (tough ends trimmed, then cut into ¼- pieces)
- 1-2 large roasted red bell peppers
- 6 spring onions (green and white parts chopped)
- 8-10 medjool dates (chopped, can use golden raisins instead)
- ½ cup almonds (roasted, coarsely chopped)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Seeds of 4 pods of cardamom (crushed into a powder)
- 2 tsp cumin (roasted and powdered)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- Salt to taste
- Make the dressing by blending all ingredients together really well. Use a blender or a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring 1 ¾ cups of water to boil. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
- When the water boils, add the couscous and turn off the heat. Stir once to mix, then cover and let the couscous stand at least 10 minutes.
- In a larger pan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the asparagus, season with salt and ground black pepper, and stir-fry about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the couscous and the chickpeas and heat unitl warmed through, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and add the roasted red peppers and spring onions along with the dressing, almonds, dates, and coriander. Stir well to mix.
- Serve warm or cold.
More Moroccan deliciousness from the archives: