Mayan Couscous Salad
This recipe came about as one of my meat-free meals, and because I’m still trying to get rid of all of the couscous from my accidental Amazon.com order of a HUGE 80-ounce bag of Israeli couscous. I’ll definitely be paying better attention when I order again, which won’t happen for a really long time.
So What’s So Good About It?
First there’s the couscous. I like serving couscous because it goes with so many different things–as a side, as a salad, as a main dish. Almost limitless possibilities.
It actually pretty quick to make, and you can flavor it to your hearts content. You can add dried fruit or a vegetable, and pretty much any spice you can think of. It’s just a really fun grain to cook.
I’m just learning about all the different varieties of couscous and ways to cook them. Below are some descriptions, in order of grain size.
Moroccan couscous: This is a tiny-grained couscous that cooks super fast. Most grocery stores carry this type of couscous on their shelves. Moroccan couscous is easy to serve as a side with just about any kind of meat. I cook it in chicken broth (usually made with some type of bouillon), and it’s done before I know it.
Israeli couscous: The Israeli couscous is about the size of a small pear or peppercorn. It takes much longer to cook, but I LOVE the texture so I think it’s worth the extra cooking time.
Lebanese couscous: The Lebansese couscous variety of couscous is even larger than Israeli couscous pearls. They are about the size of small peas, and of course require the longest cooking time.
And the winner is?
I’m not sure I have a REAL favorite yet. But since I’ve been experimenting mostly with the Israeli-style couscous these days, I’d say that one is. There’s a whole lot more bite to it than the regular couscous I typically buy. That’s the one that come in a box that’s easy to find at any grocer. This Israeli-style couscous has more of a “pearl” shape and has a “meatier” texture.
Mayan Couscous Salad
Back to my Mayan Couscous Salad. Between the actual salad ingredients and those used for the dressing, there’s so much flavor going on in this recipe. Packed full of onion, peppers (sweet and HOT), cilantro…My list goes on.
Black beans are the main source of meat-free protein, and they really taste great with this combination of vegetables and herbs. The cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice and cumin give this recipe a Latin flair that works on its own or as a real complementary side dish to any other Latin-style dish you prepare.
And as a leftover? It’s perfect for your brown-bag lunch. Just stir before serving.
Mayan Couscous Salad
- 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ small red onion, chopped
- 8 green onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded (if you don’t like it hot) and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed really well
- seasoning salt and pepper to taste
- 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar"
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a medium saucepan, HEAT 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. ADD couscous. STIR until the couscous begins to turn brown and smells toasty (about 2-4 minutes or so).
- ADD 1¼ cups broth to the toasted couscous. Bring to a BOIL. REDUCE heat, COVER and SIMMER approximately 8 minutes or until the couscous is tender. DRAIN any remaining liquid from the pan.
- SPREAD couscous evenly out onto a baking sheet. DRIZZLE remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the couscous. STIR to combine. COVER with plastic wrap and PLACE in the fridge to COOL.
- COMBINE the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin.
- In a large bowl, MIX together the garlic, red onion, green onions, red pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, corn and beans. ADD the cooled couscous, breaking it up with a fork to separate. ADD the dressing and TOSS to combine. SEASON to taste.