RECIPE israeli couscous with cranberries & almonds

Israeli Couscous Salad

(adapted from online recipe, site unknown)

Ingredients

1 cup Israeli couscous (you cannot substitute with Moroccan couscous)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
4 T olive oil, divided
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds (or pine nuts)
1/2 cup scallions (white parts only), chopped
1/2 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
1 oz cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 shallot, minced
1/2 lemon
sea salt to taste

Preparation

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and stir about 1 minute, until the couscous is lightly browned. Stir in 2 cups of broth.* Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the couscous has absorbed most of the liquid and is al dente. Drain in a colander but do not rinse. (Another method to rapidly cool the couscous if it’s a little too creamy: spread the hot couscous on a cookie tray in a thin layer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes). Once cooled, stir in the remaining 3 T olive oil to coat and separate the grains

In a serving dish, combine the couscous with cranberries, almonds (or pine nuts), scallions, red onion, cilantro, lemon zest and shallots. Spritz with lemon juice and adjust seasoning with the sea salt to taste.

Note: This can be a very seasonal dish; simply dice additional fresh vegetables (butternut squash in the fall, zucchini in the summer) and toss in.

* Of course, you can always boil it in plain water as you would pasta and drain it; but I prefer the extra boost of flavor that comes from using a broth.

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