Monday, July 12, 2010

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas

This is a perfect Monday dinner for a couple of reasons. First, it is extremely fast to prepare, but still healthy. Second, it is vegetarian. Although Meatless Mondays have become a trend in recent years, I've long tried to eat light vegetarian meals on Mondays as a way to purify my body a bit after the weekend, when I tend to eat more poorly than during the week. This week we ate out on Friday night, went to a wedding on Saturday night, and I grilled steaks last night for dinner (although they were grass-fed and organic and we had them with a salad, so they weren't that bad in the grand scheme of things) so a lighter dinner was definitely in order to start out the week.

I only made one substitution in this nearly perfect recipe from Cooking Light. Raw tomatoes are probably my least favorite food in the entire world, so I replaced the 1 large ripe tomato, chopped in the original recipe with 1 c. chopped English cucumber. This salad is flavorful, light, and refreshing and doesn't suffer at all for lack of meat or leave you hungry.

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas
adapted from Cooking Light, July 2010

yields 4 servings

1 c. uncooked whole-wheat couscous
1/2 t. salt, divided
1/2 t. black pepper, divided
1/8 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. boiling water
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1.5 t. minced garlic
Dash of sugar
1/3 c. chopped fresh mint
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/8 t. smoked paprika
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 c. chopped English cucumber
3/4 c. (3 oz. crumbled feta cheese)

1. Place couscous, 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in boiling water; cover and let standing 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Combine oil, juice, garlic, and sugar.

3. Add oil mixture, remaining 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, mint, and next 4 ingredients (through cucumber). Sprinkle with cheese.

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