Couscous and Chile Salad

On my weekly trips to the bookstore, I am always checking out the bargain book table for marked down cookbooks as I love looking at the photos of food dishes, taking in what props are used, how the photos are styled, lighted and composed getting inspiration for future projects. One cookbook I bought several months ago entitled “Red Hot! A Cook’s Encyclopedia of Fire and Spice” appealed to me in many ways. I love hot and spicy food, red and green peppers graced the cover and “encyclopedia” surely meant there was a plethora of recipes covering every hot country in the world. I couldn’t wait to try the recipes!Despite my enthusiasm over the cookbook, it went the way of many of the cookbooks and magazines I buy on a whim-relegated to a pile of other books waiting for time to peruse through them. A few days ago, the book caught my eye again and I began thumbing through the recipes for salads to enter into Weekend Cookbook Challenge created by Sara of I Like to Cook and hosted by Tami of Running with Tweezers. There wasn’t much time so I had to get busy with deciding on what to make for the event. Couscous and Chile Salad is a spicy variation of a classic Tabbouleh, traditionally made with bulgur wheat and not couscous. I added a red jalapeno pepper to the ingredients to spice the dish up a little more.Ingredients45ml/3 tbsp olive oil5 spring onions, chopped1 garlic clove, crushed5ml/1 tsp ground cumin350ml/12 fl.oz/1 1/2 cups vegetable stock175gm/6 oz/1 cup couscous2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped60ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley60ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh mint1 fresh green chile, seeded and finely chopped1 red jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped30ml/2 tbsp lemon juiceSalt and freshly ground pepper to taste.Crisp lettuce leaves, to serveToasted pine nuts and grated lemon rind or zest, to garnishHeat oil in a pan. Add the onions and garlic. Stir in the cumin and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat, stir in the couscous, cover the pan tightly and leave to stand for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.Place the couscous into a bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, mint chiles and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand covered for 1 hour for the flavors to meld.To serve, line a bowl with the lettuce leaves and spoon the couscous salad in the center. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts and lemon rind over, to garnish.Serves 4


  1. Susan
    March 5, 2007 / 6:17 pm

    Hi Lynnylu-I just saw your winning entry for DMBLGIT! Congratulations! It’s beautiful, and so is your blog. This salad has all of my favorite flavors, so I’ll definitely try it. Funny, I made a similar quinoa salad for the same event.

  2. Lynnylu
    March 5, 2007 / 11:57 pm

    Thanks, Susan. Your Inca Quinoa Salad looks great! The ingredients-curry, sun dried tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro are some of my favorites. I will definitely try your recipe. Looks like we have similar minds on choosing a salad for the Weekend Cookbook Challenge!

  3. Anonymous
    December 10, 2008 / 9:54 pm

    You are simply amazing. I was looking for something to eat… and this is exactly it!!- Cooking-

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