You'll find me talking about the weather about as much as I talk about the food. I like to serve meals that correlate with the weather when I can. I don't want a piping bowl of chili on a 90º F day and I don't want a light salad when it is 15º F and snowing-- I need seasonal comfort and flavors. Having said that, it has been warm here the past few days, so a light dinner was on the menu.
I created this salad years ago for my husband to take for lunch. He wanted something light and I wanted something that he could enjoy for more than just one day. It turned out so wonderful and full of flavor that I started making double batches of it. That way we can all enjoy it for dinner and the leftovers go to work and school. It is simple to prepare; only requiring you to boil water, chop, stir, and toss. The garbanzo beans add a satisfying meatiness while the couscous keeps it light. The onion, peppers and currants provide a nice sweet and savory combo while the feta gives a little salty bite. Lastly, the cucumber adds some needed crunch. Dressed with a honey-dijon dressing with a kick of cayenne pepper-- there is so much going on in one bite!
My husband and I enjoy this with some fresh baby spinach drizzled with some good olive oil and lemon juice. My children love it stuffed into the Whole Wheat Pita pockets with a few extra crumbles of feta cheese. You can also enjoy it as a side to grilled meats; chicken is nice. It is perfect to pack for picnics and since the recipe can easily be doubled, it is wonderful to take to your neighborhood get togethers. It is a simple salad that can be enjoyed in so many ways.
Couscous and Garbanzo Bean Salad with a Honey-Dijon Dressing
1 cup couscous
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-14.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 large roasted bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup seeded and diced English cucumber
1/4 cup currants
1-1 1/2 ounce (about 1/4-1/3 cup) crumbled Feta cheese, or more to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra-Virgin olive 0il to drizzle, use a good oil and not light
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
cayenne pepper to taste, optional
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the couscous and quickly stir. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 4-5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
Add the beans, red pepper, onion, cucumber, currants, and parsley to the cooled couscous. Gently toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss again. Sprinkle the feta over the couscous mixture and stir just until everything is combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Just before serving, drizzle the couscous salad with a good Extra-Virgin olive oil. Serve as a light main salad, a side dish, or as a filling for pita bread. Enjoy!
Source: The Galley Gourmet