Couscous Salad with Dates and Almonds

I love, love this salad – make it every summer, usually doubled for parties.

Couscous Salad with Dates and Almonds

6 servings


2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce box couscous
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (generous) grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
2/3 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onions
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Add couscous; stir 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl to cool.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, and cardamom to blend in small bowl. Drizzle over couscous. Mix in garbanzo beans, dates, almonds, minced cilantro, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.


Persian Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Also called Mastva Khiar, this is a most refreshing spring salad.

(Inspired by Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen)
Serves 4-6

2 cups plain yogurt (regular, low fat or fat free)
4 persian cucumbers, diced
2 green onions, sliced
4 radishes, sliced thin
1/4 cup white raisins
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine and chill for a few hours. Adjust seasonings and mint

Notes: I always double this. It is good on its own, served with fish, as a raita with Indian spiced rice…