israeli (pearl) cous cous salad | with sweet potato + cranberries + walnuts

My friend Jules sent a text last week. She wanted to let me know that her husband George was off to Albury for a couple of days on a work trip. “Do you know what that means?” she types. Um? Is this a trick question? In my head I’m thinking ??? lucky Jules gets to look after the three kids by herself while he probably wines and dines with work colleagues, getting to enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep?

“Um, nup. You got me. What?”

“He can pick up some cous cous for you!”

“Woohoo!” (insert about ten clapping hands emojis) was my reply.

Now although I’ve had (and cooked) pearl cous cous before, (my sister Elles is the queen of pearl cous cous) I’ve always found it to be a bit soggy whenever I’ve made it. Jules has got me on to a good thing though. The Essential Ingredient in Albury sell these huge bags of Israeli cous cous (over 2 kilos worth in every bag) and it’s delicious; it seems to hold it’s shape better than the stuff I’ve bought at Woolies. A shop for the food lover, I could spend hours (and a fair bit of moulah) browsing in there. It’s probably a good thing Wagga doesn’t have one actually.

Apparently when George went to pay for the two bags of cous cous, coming to a combined weight of 4.54 kilos (that is a lot of cous cous) the lady behind the counter asked him if he was buying this for a cafe.

George of course said no and probably answered with a witty remark about his missus and her friend just being hungry. Eyes too big for their stomachs perhaps? Maybe he should of rolled with it and said “yep” as they could of given him a discount for small businesses or something.

Anyway, regardless of what he said, I’m giving you this warm cous cous salad for your meat free Monday; a bit of salad inspo to mix things up a bit. And if you’ve never cooked with Israeli (pearl) cous cous before, then give it a try. It’s so easy, tasty, healthy and versatile. The sweet potato bulks it up a bit and I love the sweetness that the dried cranberries bring. Use my recipe below but also feel free to make it up as you go. Things like feta, cucumber, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, mint, rocket, grilled haloumi and red capsicum would really well with pearl cous cous.

We’ll be eating cous cous for a while in this household, considering I use only 2/3 of a cup at a time. Now I’m not a mathematician and am too tired to search for the calculator but all I know is that we’ll be at it for a while.

I do have a deadline though. A pearl cous cous eating deadline. I have to be finished all of the pearl cous cous before George’s next work trip to the border.

Challenge accepted.

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israeli (pearl) cous cous salad | with sweet potato + cranberries + walnuts

2/3 cup of pearl cous cous
3 x teaspoons of vegetable or chicken stock powder
3 x cups of water
1 x sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped in to chunks
A scattering of walnuts
A scattering of dried cranberries
1/4 of a small red onion, finely sliced in to thin wedges
A handful of baby spinach leaves
A drizzle of olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
A squeeze of a fresh lemon

  • Add the sweet potato to a baking tray lined with baking paper, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a moderate oven (180℃) for approx 30 minutes or until cooked. (NB: I turn it over halfway through the cooking process).
  • Meanwhile, place the cous cous, water and stock powder in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Back the heat off to a simmer and let it go for 10 minutes with the lid on until cooked.
  • Strain the cous cous, running it under cold water and place in a shallow bowl to cool.
  • Add the sweet potato, walnuts, cranberries, red onion and baby spinach and toss.
  • Season with a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Lo’s tips

  • This salad is good for an easy midweek meal served with some grilled chicken or a piece of steak. Otherwise, take it along the next time you’re asked to ‘bring a salad’.
  • I find that the best way to know if the cous cous is ready to take off the heat, is to taste it.

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If you make this salad, please comment below. xx

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