Thursday, May 24, 2007

Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Sweet Cranberries

This is one of my favorite recipes because it tastes fantastic, it's low-fat, even a half-batch is enough for three or four lunches (the recipe below was designed for parties and serves 10-12), it keeps well, and it is absurdly easy and quick to fix (maybe 15 minutes tops from beginning to end, including the time spent boiling water). If you're fixing dinner, serve it with grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli; if you're invited to a Memorial Day picnic, it's a delightful change-up from the usual summer salad.

Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Sweet Cranberries
From Young and Hungry by Dave Lieberman*

3 cups couscous
1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts (optional; to toast the walnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven, shaking once or twice, until they turn a shade darker, about 8 minutes)

Stir the couscous, cranberries, curry powder, salt, and sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and pour it over the couscous. Add the OJ, give it a big stir, cover the bowl with a dish, and let stand. Stir it again once or twice until the liquid has been absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes.

Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add the oil, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, and toasted walnuts if using them. (CK notes: You can also add other seasonings to taste; I like adding a tablespoon of cumin and a tablespoon of cinnamon for extra sweetness and kick.) Stir until everything is distributed evenly through the couscous.

That's it.

Yup, really.

* Random endorsement: This is the perfect cookbook to give a recent college or high school grad -- especially a guy -- as the food is classy, the recipes are all fairly straightforward, and it includes a wide array of basics or good variations on them.


  1. Fabulous timing; my hubby has been out of town all week and I was trying to come up with a special salad for tonight's dinner. He loves curry!

  2. Oh, I am so making this for our BBQ tomorrow. Thanks, Cheryl!

  3. Looks great for a Memorial Day BBQ. I like the additional seasoning suggestions at the end. Thank you

  4. Mmm-mmm, good! Thanks for sharing this. I'm on day three of eating it!