This recipe came from Giada De Laurentiis, but I’ve changed it to suit my own tastes. It was just a bit too simple, needed some veggies to give it more texture. There’s enough carbs here so you can cook some chicken or fish, add the salad, and you’ve got dinner.

Israeli Cous Cous Salad
serves 4-6 as a side dish

3 T olive oil plus 1/4 C
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lemons, juiced, with one zested
12 oz. Israeli cous cous (the big cous cous)
2 1/2 C vegetable broth (or chicken)
1/2 C mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 t agave nectar, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. After 30 seconds or so, add the cous cous and cook for 5 mins, stirring often, until light brown.

Add the stock, carefully, as it will splatter a bit, and the juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 8 mins, stirring from time to time. The stuff will look like glue at this point, I nearly threw it out. Don’t! The recipe said drain the cous cous, drain what I don’t know, so I dutifully put it in a colander but nothing came out. Put the cous cous in a large bowl, add 1/2 the remaining lemon juice and the zest and 1/4 C. olive oil. Let cool, but come by in ten minutes or so and stir it up, as it likes to return to its gluey state. Repeat once more, and let come to room temperature.

Chop up the cucumber, pepper, scallions and mint, and add them to the bowl. Taste for seasoning: salt and pepper, a little more lemon juice, or more likely, some agave nectar or honey. I thought this recipe was a little too acidic, don’t know whether it was the lemons or just the amount of juice, but it needed a little sweetness to counteract the tart.

The original recipe used slivered almonds, mint, basil and dried cranberries for the additions. One or two of these would be a nice addition – you decide. I like lots of veggies, but some nuts would be good too. Pine nuts, pecans.