Israeli Couscous Salad

Firstly I would like to point out that this is not an Isreali recipe, but it uses Israeli couscous, sometimes called pearl couscous.

I used to sometimes get my lunch from the salad bar in the Sainsburys near where I worked.  One of my favourite salads contained Israeli couscous but I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  It was called couscous but the grains were bigger than normal couscous, round and smooth and with a pasta-like taste and consistency.   They certainly didn’t look quite like any of the grains or starches that could be seen on the supermarket shelves to buy.    Even after finding out what it was I couldn’t find any to buy and so I just forgot about it for a while.   And then, about a month, I came across some in my local health food shop.  It’s been sitting in my cupboard since then as I’ve been pondering what to make.   Until today.

Now, I know it’s winter and salads are more summery, but I’ve been eating quite lot of meringues and ice cream recently so a salad for dinner was just what I need. The tahini in the dressing goes perfectly with the lemon and makes a lovely creamy sauce that clings to the couscous and vegetables.   For me, making a tahini dressing was something new.   I love tahini in houmous but that was about the only thing I ever used it for.  But from now on I will definitely also be using it as a salad dressing.

Ingredients – serves 2

100g Israeli couscous

About 12 cherry tomatoes

1 red pepper

1/8 small onion (omit if you don’t like raw onion or use spring onions instead)

Two handfuls of spinach

1/4 aubergine

1 tsp dried mint

1 tsp dried parsley

Salt

Black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp tahini

Extra virgin olive oil

Feta, cubed (as much as you like)

How to make Israeli Couscous Salad

1. Put the couscous on to boil according to the pack instructions.   It will probably need about 10 minutes.

2. Dice the aubergine and fry in olive oil.

3. Halve the tomatoes, dice the red pepper, finely slice the onion and roughly chop the spinach.  Put all these into a large bowl.  Add the dried herbs, salt and black pepper.  When the couscous is ready, drain and add to the bowl along with the aubergine.

4. In a bowl put the tahini and the lemon juice.  Mix with a spoon and add olive oil until you get a smooth sauce.   Pour it onto the rest of the salad ingredients.   Mix well.

5. Serve topped with the feta.

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