Tuesday, May 31, 2011

a skip-the-e.coli couscous salad.

can we talk about the fact that europe has an mini e. coli epidemic on its hands? and that the vast majority of infections have been found in northern germany?! people. this ain't good.

moreover, while everyone else is busy playing the blame game - was it or was it not spain who let the bacteria out of the bag?! - i have other (more egocentric) things on my mind. specifically: how's a girl supposed to get enough veggies in her diet when the produce available may be potentially lethal? 

cucumbers are definitely out, and i must admit i'm not so keen on reaching for that head of iceberg lettuce either. so far, it looks like tomatoes and onions are safe. and you can't go wrong with anything canned or boxed (like chickpeas and couscous, for instance).

hence: a minimal-veggie couscous salad to hopefully keep myself (and my readers!) alive.

i admit, maybe the term "salad" is a stretch. but i try to eat some salad everyday, and desperate times call for desperate measures/definitions of what one calls a "salad". still, it's a very tasty dish, mostly owing to the spices (cumin and coriander), herbs (cilantro and parsley), and simple dressing (garlic, olive oil, and lemon).

it's also great to pack in tupperware and bring to a potluck! i made it earlier in the day and stuck in the fridge for a bit to chill before serving, but room temperature is also delicious.

moroccan chickpea and couscous salad

1 cup quick-cooking couscous
¼ cup dried apricots, chopped finely
1¼ cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic—minced
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons salt
10 baby carrots, cut into thin slivers
8 cherry tomatoes, roasted
3/4 red onion, diced finely
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

mix the couscous with the apricots in a bowl and pour into a pot of boiling vegetable stock. cover with a lid or plate to seal in the steam and let sit for 5-8 minutes or until all of the stock has been absorbed.

meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and chop the carrots, onion, parsley, and coriander. quarter the tomatoes, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and roast in the oven on a piece of tin foil at 150 degrees celsius about 12 minutes. place all ingredients in a large bowl. when the couscous is ready, fluff it up with a fork and add it to the bowl. toss together until well combined.

in a separate little bowl, combine the oil, water, lemon juice, garlic, spices, and salt. pour over the couscous and stir once again. salt and pepper to taste.