Thursday, May 1, 2014

Israeli Couscous Salad with Za'atar-Roasted Radishes and Greens

Israeli Couscous Salad with Za'atar-Roasted 
Radishes & Greens
you are my sunshine.

After all the time I've spent lamenting the long dark winter in
multiple (vaguely) melancholy blog posts, spring has finally sprung.
THE RADISHES ARE HERE and the world feels right again.
It may be cold and rainy (yet again...blech) as I type this,
but warmer and sunnier times are ahead.
I can feel it deep inside of my slowly defrosting winter bones.

So, this a defiant salad.
A "screw you cold weather, spring vegetables are here and
I aim to eat the shit out of them" salad.
It is also a "root-to-greens, every damn part of the radish" salad.
Because if we're going to spring forward,
we might as well do it with reckless abandon.

fresh chickpeas and breakfast radishes- dressed and ready for roasting.

Recipe Notes:
I've taken one of my all time favorite recipes (Israeli Couscous with Za'atar-Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots) and tweaked it a bit for warmer (ha!) weather--
radishes and fresh chickpeas or fava beans replace carrots and canned chickpeas.
French breakfast radishes are my radish of choice.
They are gorgeous, have a peppery bite and roast perfectly.
When buying, make sure the greens are bright and crisp.
I've used fresh chickpeas in the recipe, mostly because I was THRILLED to find them at the local asian grocery, but also for added texture.
If fresh chickpeas are hard to come by, don't replace them with canned.
Instead I would suggest substituting fresh fava beans or even edamame,
following the same steps in the recipe.
You can also skip the beans all together, as the radishes fill out the salad nicely.

onions, of the spring variety.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Za'atar-Roasted 
Radishes and Greens
(serves 4)

Za'atar Dressing:
1/4c extra virgin olive oil
2Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2tsp tahini
1Tbsp za'atar spice
1/2tsp sea salt
1/4tsp ground black pepper

Everything Else:
1c dry israeli couscous
2tsp olive oil

2 bunches of fresh english breakfast radishes (about 18-20 radishes) 
with greens attached
1/2c shelled fresh chickpeas or broad beans
2 large spring onions, white and light green parts sliced thin
extra 1-2 teaspoons of za'atar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Separate greens from radishes, wash thoroughly and slice into 1/2" wide pieces. 
Set aside.
Scrub radishes thoroughly, slice each in half lengthwise and place 
in a small mixing bowl with beans.
Prepare dressing by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, 
za'atar spice, tahini, salt and pepper.
Pour half of the dressing over radishes and chickpeas; toss to combine.
Spread coated radishes and chickpeas onto a parchment-lined baking sheet 

in a single layer.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking pan and flipping about halfway through.
Finished radishes should be tender with slightly browned edges.

While radishes and chickpeas 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 and allow to cool slightly.
Pour remainder of the dressing over top and toss to combine.
Add roasted radishes and chickpeas, chopped greens and most of the spring onions, 

stirring them into the couscous mix.
Garnish with reserved spring onions and extra za'atar.

Serve at room temperature.

you make me happy when skies are grey.

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