I am notoriously terrible at making interesting salads. I think it is because Italian salads are incredibly simple and usually only consist of three ingredients and oil/balsamic (think tomato, bocconcini and basil salad; or rocket, pear and parmesan salad). So, outwardly I blame it on my heritage but inwardly I blame it on a lack of salad imagination.
So, I am making a pledge (fingers crossed I can keep it) that I will bring more salad recipes to Chew Town in an attempt to get out of this salad funk.
I’m officially in love with pearl couscous. It was coming slowly but truly hit when I realised that toasting them until golden prior to adding water created a wonderfully nutty result. So I thought I would start with this hybrid side/salad recipe to get us started.
Inspired by Tabouli, I started by replacing burghul for pearl couscous, then used roasted capsicum instead of tomato and shaved fennel instead of onion. The parsley, lemon juice and olive oil just had to stay, and the resulting salad was fresh and zingy, with the little beads of couscous clearly content in their role as the star of the dish.
I can see this salad quickly becoming a favourite in our household.
Capsicum and Fennel Pearl Couscous Salad
Serves 2 as a side salad
1 1/2 red capsicums
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/4 fennel bulb, shaved
Large handful continental parsley, finely chopped
Juice 1 lemon
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup pearl couscous (Israeli couscous)
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast the capsicum under the oven grill until the skin is blackened. Remove from grill and place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes (this allows the capsicum to sweat and makes it easier to remove the skin). Peel the blackened skin off the capsicum and remove the seeds and discard. Finely chop the flesh.
In a bowl, combine capsicum, onion, fennel, parsley, lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil and mix till well combined. Set aside.
Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan and add couscous. Cook until couscous is golden and toasted, stirring continuously. When golden add water and cook until al dente. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add to capsicum mixture, mix well to combine and serve.
Nice combo of flavors! I usually like simple salads, but during the warm weather often the salad becomes the entire meal. Then I want it to be more substantial, and use grains and/or beans as an ingredient. This looks super! Love the addition of the fennel – really nice touch. Thanks.
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A great way to make use of some tasty fennel. Loving the colours and textures.
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I absolutely love the look of this salad! Such simple flavours, but they sure explode in the mouth.
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im a pretty fail salad maker myslef, my salads always seem to feature cherry tomatoes and french dressing haha!
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Well, this ain't no boring salad. Looks like lunchtime perfection. And there's nothing wrong with italian salads! Simple is sometimes perfect!
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Sooooo unbelievably beautiful, healthy and delicious, Amanda. You ahve no idea how many of your recipes I've secretly bookmarked hehe. Now to get off my arse and get a cookin! Only hope it'll turn out half as nice as yours =]
Sara @ Belly Rumbles says
Toasting the pearl couscous? You clever chook you, love the ending result and flavour combination. Your normal salad repertoire sounds like mine, which are staples and faves, but looking forward to your coming salad inspirations.
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I Spy Plum Pie says
I'm a huge fan of pearl couscous but never thought to toast it first! I haven't actually used it in a while so I will have to pick some up and give this a try soon!
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