Couscous Salad with Spinach, Artichokes & Olives
Israeli couscous has a mellow, neutral flavor that blends wonderfully with many different ingredients. Israeli Couscous is made from hard wheat and water, just like regular pasta. But here's the difference: instead of being dried, Israeli Couscous is toasted in an open flame oven, giving it a rich, nutty flavor. The resulting small round pasta readily absorbs flavors while remaining pleasantly firm in texture. Sauces & seasonings easily cling to the surface of each pearl-shaped piece. Israeli couscous is sodium free, saturated fat free and 100% Natural.
In this salad it adds texture and a background to the spinach, olives, lemon, and artichoke. This also makes an exotic light luncheon, especially if served with crusty bread and fresh fruit. This salad serves six, and is reprinted with permission from "Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home" published by Ten Speed Press.
To prepare the artichokes:
Cook the carrot, onion, and celery in the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Add the artichoke bottoms and lemon and cover with water. Simmer over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the artichokes are done.
Remove the artichokes from the pan, scoop out the grassy centers, and discard. Cool the artichokes to room temperature.
To prepare the couscous:
Place the couscous in a sieve and rinse with cold water.
Place in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until al dente.
Pour the couscous into a strainer and rinse with cold water for 3 minutes. Drain, place in a large bowl, and toss with the olive oil.
To prepare the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the salad:
Slice the artichokes in half, cut into small wedges, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the artichokes, spinach, olives, and vinaigrette to the couscous and toss well.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.