Thursday, January 19, 2012

Couscous Salad with Winter Squash and Cranberries

This recipe, from The Kitchn, was really good. I like having a healthy vegetarian dish that’s easy to make and filling, and this hit the spot. The mix of spices was really good. I used butternut squash, which is my favorite, but you could use other types (like buttercup, to name just one). I used red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar (that’s what I have in the pantry), and I forgot about the orange zest. I also didn’t use nuts. If you can’t find lactose-free goat cheese, or if you want a vegan version of the dish, omit that, too.

1 medium butternut squash (or other hard winter squash), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
¾ cup uncooked couscous
1 cup water
1 onion, diced
4-5 Tbsp white wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
2 Tbsp olive oil
zest of one orange
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cumin
1-3 tsp salt, to taste
1 can chickpeas, drained
½ cup dried cranberries
2 oz lactose-free goat cheese (if desired)
½ cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (if desired)

Preheat oven to 400 ° F. Toss squash with a bit of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast squash, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before combining with other ingredients.

Heat water in sauce pan to boiling. Add couscous and stir. Remove pan from heat, cover with a lid, and let sit for about 10 minutes until the couscous has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Sauté onion in a skillet over medium-high heat until translucent. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, zest, spices, and 1 tsp of salt.

In a large bowl, combine squash, couscous, onions, chickpeas, and cranberries. Pour on the vinegar-oil dressing and stir to combine. Taste to check seasoning and add salt if needed.

If including, crumble the goat cheese into chunks and gently fold into the salad. (Note: Make sure the salad is room temperature at this point or the goat cheese will melt.) Top each serving with a sprinkle of walnuts (if desired) and enjoy. This salad can be served at room temperature or cold.

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