Couscous with Dried Fruit & Nuts

IMG_4172.jpg

Simply eating a handful of nuts is going to get old sooner or later no matter how healthy you might want to be. So, having other ways to incorporate them into your regular eating and fueling habits is key.

Side dishes are the perfect answer for you nut dilemma.. Use bulgur wheat or couscous for this Mediterranean-inspired 'salad' packed with dried fruits, creamy feta, nuts, and, when in season, pomegranate arils. One of my favorite dishes for sure.

Walnuts have the highest alpha-lenolenic acid (ALA) and polyunsaturated fat content amongst nuts; thus, making it a great source for healthy plant-based fats and omega-3-fatty acids. However, they can also taste bitter at times..and then, nuts are omitted...don't do that!.

As an alternative, I will occasionally substitute cashews or pistachios which have a smoother, buttery and richer flavor profile along with a lower total fat content; but, unfortunately, have a significantly lower concentration of polyunsaturated fats. Just choose one!

 

Couscous with Dried Fruit & Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth, hot
  • 1 cup of toasted walnuts, pistachios, almonds or cashews 
  • 2 oz block feta, crumbled or cubed
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup dried dates, diced
  • 1/2 cup green scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbls fresh mint

Dressing:

  • 1 medium apple, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 Tbls olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbls honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Place couscous in a glass bowl and cover with hot vegetable broth to 1/4" above grains.
  2. Let stand x 20 min. 
  3. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey and salt.
  4. Finely dice apple and marinate in the lemon-honey vinaigrette.
  5. Fluff couscous and add nuts, pomegranate, dried fruits, scallions, and feta.
  6. Separate the apples from the vinaigrette and add them to the couscous.
  7. Taste the salad at this point. We actually add very little of the vinaigrette because it is already so flavorful, but you decide how moist you want the salad to be.