Mint and couscous salad

This is a simple salad that can be prepared quickly. It is excellent as an accompaniment of a Sunday lunch, or on its own. You can use the left overs for lunch boxes. It can be kept in the fridge for one day.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 250 gr of couscous prepared according to the instructions of the producer
  • 200 gr sweet cherry tomatoes chopped in half
  • half a cucumber chopped in small cubes ( seeds removed)
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves
  • half a red onion chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small carrot chopped in small cubes
  • 2 green onions
  • origano
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt
  • a rich of cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Prepare your couscous according to the producer’s instructions or if you are lucky enough to have access to homemade couscous just prepare it as you regularly do.
  • Add a bit of olive oil to your couscous.
  • In a large bowl place all the vegetables and herbs and mix gently.
  • Add a bit of salt to the mixture.
  • Place the couscous in this mixture once it is cold with a pinch of cinnamon.
  •  Your salad is ready.

This salad is great when served with falafel, yogurt and tomato sauce and cabbage salad.

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Prosecco wine goes very well with this dish.

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Vegan Christmas, vegetarian Berber couscous

dsc_8403Many traditional Christmas dishes are composed around meat. It is useful to remember that our ancestors did not have the luxury of meat in everyday life. So they compensated by creating exceptional carnivore dishes.

Having said this, vegetarian and vegan dishes become more and more popular. I wish to share this traditional Berber couscous from Algeria adapted to the sauce of the modern world. It is a light, healthy and colourful dish that will satisfy all tastes.The combination of spices with the chickpeas is so tasty that meat becomes unnecessary.

It is a nice idea to prepare this couscous also in case you have guests with different nutritional regimes. A slow roasted lamb shoulder in the oven can be presented as a side dish for whomever appreciates this without compromising the taste of  your vegan/vegetarian guests.

The greatness of this dish is the amazing aroma of the spices. Your kitchen will be enchanted by a beautiful Christmas scent.

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Ingredients for four portions:

  • 400 gr instant couscous (optional, if you know how to separate the grains by hand and you live in a country where you can find real couscous, take the time to prepare it properly)
  • 200 gr chickpeas
  • 3-4 medium carrots chopped in large chunks
  • 250 gr turnips chopped in large chunks
  • 2-3 medium zucchinis in large chunks
  • 4 tomatoes mixed in a food processor
  • a roasted eggplant
  • a sliced onion
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2 tsp raz el hanout
  • salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 tbsp of butter (optional, can be replaced by olive oil)
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 l of water
  • some herbs for the presentation (parsley, mint, coriander according to your preferences)

Instructions:

24 hours before:

  • Put the chickpeas into a bowl of water with the baking soda and let them rest in the fridge for a whole day.

On the day of the preparation:

  • Put the chickpeas into a pan and boil them for 1 hour or until they become soft.
  • Drain the chickpeas.
  • Put some olive oil into a pan, turn the heat on low and add the onion and the spices.
  • Add the garlic cloves.
  • Roast for 3-4 minutes, just enough time for the spices to develop their aroma.
  • Add the chickpeas and keep on stirring in low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrots and the turnips
  • Add the water.
  • Add the tomato sauce
  • Let this soup simmer for 1 hour
  • Carefully add the zucchini.
  • Let simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Prepare the couscous according to the instructions of the packaging.

It is ready. For the presentation separate the vegetable from the chickpeas and the sauce. Present the grains of couscous in a separate large and deep plate, the sauce in a bowl and the vegetable on a plate. In this way your guests will choose whatever they wish according to their taste.

Enjoy 🙂

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