Thursday, February 20, 2014

Israeli Couscous with Za'atar-Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots

metaphors are delicious.
Israeli Couscous with Za'atar-Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots.
za'atar za'atar, be still my heart.

If you're unfamiliar with za'atar I am envious. Not because of the huge za'atar-less gap in your life up until this moment, but because discovering za'atar for the first time... it's like falling in love and falling HARD. One could even say that za'atar, with all of its mercurial regional, cultural and personal definitions, was very much like love itself, or the nature of it at least. Once could, if one were in the business of waxing poetic on the characteristics of spice blends. 
One could...
I, however, at least in this moment, am more interested in eating than continuing to pontificate about za'atar as a metaphor for love.
What I will say is this: if you know, YOU KNOW.
And if you don't know, YOU"RE WELCOME.

za'atar-roasted goodness.

Recipe notes:
While za'atar recipes vary regionally, I use a fairly traditional blend which includes thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds and salt. You can easily make your own,  basic recipes here and here, or purchase it from a specialty
or well stocked grocery store.

Israeli Couscous with Za'atar-Roasted Chickpeas & Carrots
(serves 4)

1c dry israeli couscous
2tsp olive oil
1 1/2c cooked chickpeas, drained
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin wedges

2 spring onions, light green parts sliced thin
extra 1-2 teaspoons of za'atar

Za'atar Dressing:

1/4c olive oil
1/2 large lemon, juiced
1tsp tahini
1Tbsp Za'atar spice
1/2tsp ground sea salt
1/4tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine chickpeas and sliced carrots in a medium bowl and set aside.
Prepare dressing by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, za'atar spice,
salt and pepper.
Pour half of the dressing over carrots and chickpeas and toss to combine.
Spread coated carrots and chickpeas onto a parchment-lined
baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking pan about halfway through.
The carrots should be tender and the chickpeas should have a slightly crunchy texture, but still be soft on the inside.

While chickpeas and carrots are roasting, heat 2tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
Add Israeli couscous and, stirring frequently, cook until pasta has reached a toasted, golden brown color, about 5-7 minutes.
Add 1 1/4c water, allow pasta to reach a boil, reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Turn cooked couscous into a medium serving bowl.
Pour remainder of the dressing over top and toss to combine.
Add roughly one third of the roasted carrots and chickpeas,
stirring them into the couscous mix.
Add the remainder of roasted carrots and chickpeas right before serving,
this will keep them crispy.
Garnish with spring onions and extra za'atar.

metaphors are delicious.


  1. Loved the whole thing, but the crispy chickpeas in this recipe... TO DIE FOR.

    1. Aww, so glad you liked it! PS- the chickpeas are my favorite part too. ;)