Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

While away on vacation I literally ate and drank everything in sight.  Every morning we had eggs, bacon, and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Some mornings there were even pancakes added to the mix. Then there were the racks of ribs, the crazy good filet mignon, and the one-pound baked potatoes.  Let's not forget about the pizza, the burgers, the macaroni and cheese, the brownies, or the cookies.  Couple all that food along with wine, margaritas, and the moonshine and I think you can imagine how I feel.  I need to detox.  In a major way.

My body is craving light dishes filled to the brim with veggies, grains, and you guessed it......beans!  If you haven't noticed it by now, I am a total bean fanatic. When I settled on the recipe for this couscous salad I immediately knew I would have to make some changes to accommodate my cravings. First, and most importantly, I knew I had to add a can of chickpeas. It was a no brainer.  I also knew I would sub zucchini in place of the cucumber (just because it's what I had on hand). In addition to that, I subbed parsley for the mint (no one in my family enjoys mint besides me).  This salad originally called for only 3 tablespoons of lemon juice which after tasting, was nowhere near enough lemon, so I doubled the amount of lemon juice to 6 tablespoons.  Six tablespoons of lemon is right around the perfect amount.  However, if you really enjoy a strong lemon flavor then I would suggest adding between 6-8 tablespoons of lemon.  Lastly, this salad benefits from the addition of salt, quite a bit of salt.  I found myself tasting and adding salt.  Tasting again and adding more salt, etc. 

I really enjoyed this salad. I loved the bright flavors and all the different textures, as well as the lovely little chunks of goat cheese.  I found this salad hearty and filling yet light at the same time.  My Mom, however, did not enjoy it at all.  She's decided that she is not a fan of couscous.  She said she felt like she was eating a salad made with breadcrumbs.  Then she preceded to pick out all the veggies and beans, leaving the couscous on the plate.  The kids thought it was pretty funny to see Grandma pushing her couscous aside on the plate.  She's not likely to live it down anytime soon.
Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
Serves 6-8

1 & 2/3 cups couscous (I used a green spinach couscous)
About 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (tomatoes chopped into bite sized pieces, oil reserved)
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 small zucchini (quartered and chopped into bite-sized pieces)
5 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil (or used reserved sun-dried tomato oil)
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
quite a bit of salt and pepper

Put the couscous in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper.  Add a splash of the oil from your jar of sun-dried tomatoes and 2 cups of just-boiled water.  Stir, cover, and let cool completely, fluffing it up gently now and then, so that the bottom does not become stiff.

Add the zucchini, scallions, chickpeas, parsley, and lemon juice to the couscous.  Add the tomatoes and the rest of their oil, topping off the 1/3 cup with regular olive oil if there is not enough from the tomatoes, and stir well.  Add the goat cheese and stir in carefully, especially if it is soft.  Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and serve.

Couscous is one of those things that you either love or hate.
How do you feel about couscous?

Theme: Lighten Up


Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen


  1. LOVE! Love couscous. Love your add-ins...I would happily detox with this salad :D

  2. I've come back from vacation craving light too Kim. I don't know where I get the idea what I eat on vacation doesn't count! Love goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes in everything. Your couscous looks light and delicious.

  3. I'm getting so tempted by the couscous salads I've been spotting on blogs lately. I've never seen spinach couscous, I'd love to try that.

  4. I love couscous and anything with it. Good post, reminds me I haven't had couscous for a while.

  5. Lovely salad!! I adore couscous!

  6. This is a beacon of spring. A way to welcome warmer weather - but still eat with heart. Love new variations on couscous - there's something about that grand texture that is so adaptable.

  7. I love couscous! This is a great recipe, I've never added lemon juice to couscous before, should try that.

  8. I like it. My kids said it was like eating sand. LOL

  9. since my computer's a nuisance, i was never able to tell you earlier that your vacation sounded SO FUN! i'm so glad you guys had such a good time. there is nothing better than a good getaway.

    this looks wonderful, i completely know the feeling of needing that detox. i could use one right now. i'm finally starting to warm up to couscous, but for a while i probably would have joined your mom, lol! it looks delicious!

  10. I feel the exact same way whenever I get home from vacation! A salad like this sounds like just the way to satisfy your health food cravings.

  11. So funny about your mom! I love a good couscous salad for lunch. I can make it ahead and have it sit fridge soaking up whatever the dressing may be. You know I'm a fan of lemon juice--have a feeling I would love this particular salad. Right on with adding chickpeas!

    Nice pick for Lighten Up week and seems like perfect timing for you!

  12. I have some goat cheese left from Joy's Whole Wheat Honey and Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits and was wondering what I should do with it. This looks so delicious and healthy and will be a perfect dish to serve this weekend. Couscous - I love it.

  13. Sounds like you had a great vacation. I always eat way too much on vacation too, but hey it is vacation after all. This dish sounds like just the thing I love. Funny about your mom. Most everyone in my family would probably do the same

  14. I like couscous, it's quinoa that I don't like.

  15. What a wonderful salad. Healthy and delicious!!!

  16. great salad and wow you nearly have 1000 followers thats awesome way to do Kim hugs Rebecca

  17. I am a big fan of couscous and I love all of the changes you made--chickpeas, extra lemon, yum! Perfect light detox dish. ;-)

  18. This looks beautiful and has a bunch of my favorite things in it so I can't think of one thing not to like about it!

  19. I love couscous, and I love the changes you made to this. I think zucchini is a great "sub" for cucumber - even better if it is chargrilled for some extra flavour. A bit of chopped preserved lemon is also a great way of boosting flavour and getting some intense lemon hits into a dish like this. And I totally love that you put some chickpeas in here too. You have me totally craving this dish now.
    Sue xo

    P.S. Your holiday sounds wonderful, but I can appreciate the need to detox after that :-)

  20. I'm actually not a huge couscous lover, although I do make it from time to time. I season it heavily, for some reason it tastes a bit like play-dough to me, although it is a pasta and I love pasta. Weird, I know.
    But I love all the flavours you added it to it!

  21. I've never had couscous in my life! I really have to change that;)

  22. oh, my, I know I would love this. thanks for sharing. look forward to seeing more here!!

  23. I LOVE couscous! And I love all of the additional ingredients in this salad Kim! Hope you're doing well and that you are all safe with this crazy storms that we've been having in the SE!!!!

  24. I love couscous! Looks delicious, I've never had it with goat cheese, I'm sure I'd love it with couscous. I like the zucchini, chick peas and sun dried tomatoes, and definitely lots of lemon. Great salad.


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