couscous salad with dates and almonds

couscous.jpg ***modified on 7/7/08



2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups of couscous.....i have always used wheat couscous


1/4 cup olive oil

1 T grated lemon peel...i have left out before and it is just as good

1 tsp. ground cardamom

3 T fresh lemon juice ***add an additional 2 T of lemon juice: 5 T total

*** 1 T red wine or rice wine vinegar

*** 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

*** 1/4 teaspoon of salt

***1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 15-16oz. can of chickpeas/garbonzo beans..drained

2/3 cup of chopped pitted dates

1/2 cups minced basil or cilantro

1/2 cup of almonds toasted....i have forgotten to toast the almonds before and it is still good, but it is way better if you toast them.



bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil. add couscous, stir 30 seconds. remove from heat. cover and let stand 5 minutes. fluff with fork. transfer to large bowl to cool. to toast almonds: i just put them in a dry pan and turn the heat on closely stirring often. if your still prepping ingredients then your sniffer will tell you when to turn stir them. as soon as you smell the almonds it’s stir time. this only takes a few minutes. just toast until slightly golden and let cool.

whisk oil, lemon juice, peel, vinegar, caynenne, salt, pepper and cardamom to blend in small bowl. drizzle over couscous. mix in chickpeas/garbonzo beans, dates, almonds, basil or cilantro. season with salt and pepper. let stand at room temperature for an hour if possible.....if your really hungry even better then just to dig in. i’m pretty sure i’ve never waited an hour to eat it.


this recipe is super easy to make and it is really tasty!!!

serves 4 healthy portions or 6 smaller portions

quinoa and black bean salad


Servings: Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish.


1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)*i normally put in about 1 ¾ cups

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned

1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

2 large sweet potato, peeled and cooked (method below)

1-16oz can of corn

3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced...if your hands are sensitive wear rubber gloves

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

For dressing

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste

1/3 cup olive oil


*available at specialty foods shops and natural foods stores.........if you have to make a special trip to get the is completely worth the effort.


place quinoa in fine strainer and rinse with warm water for 3 minutes rubbing grains to remove the bitter outer hull. in a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 15 minutes until the quinoa only has an opaque spot in the center. the steaming will finish cooking the quinoa and then the “grains” will be completely transparent and look like they have little tails. drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a lid, until fluffy and dry, about 
10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary). don’t worry if some steam is escaping because your lid is slightly to small or doesn’t have a tight fit on pot since there is the sieve between the pot and lid.

while quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

peel sweet potato and pierce with a fork several times wrap potatoes in a wet paper towel and then in plastic wrap sealing in the potato so it’s completely covered in plastic wrap. place both potatoes in microwave and cook for approximately 7 minutes or until potatoes are soft when you stick a fork in them. careful not to burn yourself when you remove the plastic wrap from potato. this is the fast, easy method to “bake”a sweet potato. once potatoes are cooked and slightly cool cut into cubes.

transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. add beans, corn, sweet potato, bell pepper, jalapeños, and coriander and toss well.

make dressing:

In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.

drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. you can let cool before serving or just dig in. i think it’s really good both warm or cold. also, it’s super yummy for leftovers as well......which is perfect since it makes quite a bit.