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Sunday, December 4, 2011

HOME SWEET HOME: WARM ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD

I'm not sure about you, but after being on vacation and eating out for every meal, I cannot wait to have a home cooked meal. Tonight, I wanted something healthy and comforting with all the fixings, so I dug out my Israeli couscous and got to work. Israeli couscous is much larger than traditional couscous and tastes like a small pasta grain. Israeli couscous grew in popularity in Israel from 1949-59 when rice became scarce. The prime minister at the time developed a wheat based product as a substitute for rice and called it Israeli Couscous. This couscous can be found in most major grocery stores and is served warm or cold. Couscous is very simple to make and can be a great base for most any protein or vegetable. Couscous absorbs sauces easily, so developing a delicious dressing or sauce is key. Follow my recipe below or try your own variation!

Rachael's Sweet and Tangy Warm Israeli Couscous Salad 
(serves about 4)
2 tbsp olive oil 
2 cups dry Israeli couscous
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
1-2 tbsp shawarma spice (or a blend of garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, clove, cayenne pepper and cinnamon)
1 tbsp olive oil 
2 cups brussels sprouts, washed and halved
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic
Salt, pepper
1 dozen shrimp
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup diced green onion (for garnish)
Sauce:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4- 1/2 cup mango chutney 
1/4 cup olive oil 
Salt, pepper 

Begin by adding olive oil to a large skillet and heat over med/high heat and add couscous. Cook couscous until slightly brown and aromatic. Add chicken broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the broth has thoroughly absorbed. Add shawarma spice and mix well, set aside to cool. In a separate skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil, brussels, onion, salt, pepper and garlic and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Add cider vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes, add shrimp until cooked and let rest with the heat off. Meanwhile, whisk up all sauce ingredients and pour over cooled couscous. Mix in almonds, cranberries and green onion. To plate, ladle couscous mixture on the bottom of a shallow bowl, followed by the brussels sprout mixture and place shrimp and extra green onion on the very top. Enjoy! 






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