Sunday, August 9, 2009

Slow Travel Sunday Salad Samplers # 16 (8/9): Coucous Salad

This week's selection was made by AnnieNC, Churches in Venice. I have really been looking forward to this week's salad ever since I first read Annie's recipe for it on the Slow Talk Community Gold Forum. This was the first time that I have made couscous and I loved it! I really liked the flavors made by the combination of ingredients in her recipe, especially the sweetness of the cinnamon. I served it warm and used chicken broth and regular cinnamon and followed Annie's easy instructions. This salad is so delicious!

Thank you so much Annie for this fabulous recipe. I'm going to totally make this wonderful salad again.

Here is Annie's easy instructions to her very delicious recipe:

I found this recipe on the McCormick spice website after a friend brought me a big bag of cinnamon from Vietnam and I started looking for savory recipes to use it in. The recipe was created by Suzanne Goins from the Los Angeles restaurant Luques.

I use whole wheat couscous and sometimes substitute dried apricots for the dates. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Vietnamese cinnamon is pretty strong so if you're using regular cinnamon, you might want to use a little bit more. This is a great party/potluck recipe (it keeps and travels well).

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Dates & Cinnamon

3 green onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 (10 ounce) package couscous

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Finely dice white end of green onions. Slice green parts of green onions and reserve for salad. Gently cook white onion pieces in olive oil 5-7 minutes in a medium saucepan. Stir in chicken broth, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil; add couscous. Cover and remove pan from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and olive oil in a small bowl.

Fluff couscous with a fork; put in a large bowl. Toss in sliced green onions, chickpeas, carrots, dates, pinenuts, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; add vinaigrette and toss again. Serve right away or chill. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


  1. Kathy,
    Looks great! We loved this salad too, and will definitely be making it again. I love dates, and so glad that I got to use them in a great recipe.

  2. I too loved the couscous salad - so tasty!

    And there were at least three of us who have never made this kind of salad before. A great introduction to couscous.

  3. Hi Kathy, I'm so glad you liked it! I'm also glad you made couscous for the first time. I love to cook with couscous because it's so easy (and quick).

    I sometimes eat this salad for a main course too; I figure the beans and nuts give it a little bit of protein. I liked Nancy's idea about putting some chicken on top too.

    Hope you're having a great weekend!

  4. Kathy, you did a great job with your first ever cousocus recipe! I also loved this recipe with the different textures and the sweetness of the dates. It is also very healthy.

  5. Hi Everyone, thanks so much for your comments...

    Candi, I totally loved this salad too. I had a couple of firsts, first time to cook couscous and first time to eat dates. Loved it. I was so glad to have left overs as I enjoyed it for lunch and dinner yesterday as well and I have just enough for lunch today.

    Nancy, it was a great first time experience for me. And I only tried couscous once before at a potluck. So this was the second time eating couscous and first time preparing it. Your salad looked great too and I like your idea of serving it with chicken on the top. This was as you said a great introduction to making couscous.

    Annie, thank you so much for your recipe. It was very fast and easy to make which is another thing I liked. You are so right. I think it is a great dish just by itself too and that's how I actually had it Saturday night. Yesterday, I had planned on grilling some chicken, but unfortunately didn't get a chance to prepare some, so I heated up a bowl and had it again just by itself and it was soooo good. I have just enough left for a great lunch today! Thank you so much Annie for your wonderful recipe! Hope you had a great weekend.

    Maria, I loved the sweetness of the dates too. I'm so happy that I did Annie's recipe justice. Cooking is a real challenge for me because I'm not very good at it, but over the summer I have really discovered that I enjoy it. I love trying something for the first time and seeing (and tasting) the results of my efforts.

    Thanks again Annie for the great recipe and thanks everyone for your comments. Everyone's salad looked very delicious this week. Have a great day today!

  6. Looks fabulous!! I've never made couscous, but Annie's recipe does look quite easy so I may give it a try. Really, anything with dates in it is ok in my book!

  7. Hi Kathy,

    AI gossip time! I saw Simon interviewed on TV last night (the auditions have started) and he was talking about how much he misses Paula, how she was his best friend on the show etc. He sounded very sincere and looked kinda sad. Of course, he's not going to say "I'm glad she's gone" to the media but I can't help but think that Simon could have used his influence to keep her on the show?

    Happy Wednesday!

  8. Hi Anne & Annie, I'm so sorry for my delayed comments...oops. Forgot I had published your comments Anne and for some reason I didn't see an e-mail notify of yours comments Annie.

    Anne, Thank you so much. I hope that you get a chance to try Annie's recipe because it is very fabulous. This was the first time that I had tried dates and I really loved them. They were such a great addition in this salad and made it so flavorable.

    Hi Annie, thanks so much for the AI scoop. I still can't believe that Paula won't be a part of Season 9. I think it's cool that Simon made those comments. Some additional gossip . . . I also read that they had Posh (spelling? from the spice girl) be a test judge during the auditions and it didn't go well...another rumor is they were trying to court Queen Laytifa too. I actually am a fan of hers so I think that would actually be very cool. But it seems that her price would be higher than Paula so if they pay her that amount why didn't they offer that to Paula. Maybe the execs are upset that Paula's new manager went public on their closed door's interesting to speculate. And it'll be very interesting to see how this all plays out. I'll still follow season 9 but it will be very different without Paula. And as much as I like her and feel that she deserves to get a raise too, I think the show would definitely be more different if Simon was the one that didn't resign.

    It'll be interesting for sure! Can't wait for season 9...

    Yay, tomorrow is Friday!

  9. Hi Kathy, thanks for the scoop! I had not heard that. Posh Spice was a guest judge on Project Runway one time. She doesn't have much personality and it's hard to imagine her on Idol. But I think Queen Latifah would be awesome (better than Kara, IMO). But still, I'd like to see Paula back but I wonder if it's too late? You might be right, her new agent might have burned her bridges?

    I'm excited about Season 9 too but it's going to be so hard to top Season 8 and Adam Lambert!

    And that is cool that it was your first time to eat dates too. I don't eat them a lot but I like them when I do.

    Happy Thursday!

  10. Hi Annie, yes I enjoyed eating dates for the first time. I don't think I've even seen them before and didn 't where to find them in the grocery store. I asked someone. Learn something new! :)

    I had heard the same this g Bout Posh. They said she came across stiff and cold. Yikes! My first preference would be to go back to the three original judges! And please no more crazy twists! I think what rePly makes Ai in the first place is the amazing talent that can come out of it like Adam. And you are so right. It's going to be hE'd to top what Adam did for the show. I think he wAs responsible for breathing new life into the show!

    I can't wait for season 9 too!

    Have a great Thursday too Annie! TGIF tomorrow.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.