Monday, February 22, 2010

Couscous and Chickpea Salad

My favorite cooking is born from boredom, hunger, and a well-stocked fridge and pantry. It also takes 10 minutes flat and measuring is never involved. This weekend I was positively voracious as I popped open a jar of marinated artichoke hearts and greedily ate one, straight from the jar, my fingers in oil. Those things are pure heaven. Matt and I had just been to the grocery store and our produce place the day before, and I had food to burn.

There are certain things I always keep in our pantry: canned beans, for one. Cheap, fast, healthy and filling. I love beans. I always thought the beans and gas correlation was a whole lot of bologna…until we became bean-eating maniacs. Lentils, black beans, pinto beans…it’s getting ridiculous. While at the store Matt is always sure to ask, “What’s our bean situation?” If we’re under three bean varieties, the situation isn’t good. For this dish I grabbed a can of chickpeas. I also always have tons of grains in addition to rice: there’s the quinoa, the whole wheat couscous, the tri-colored couscous, the Israeli couscous, orzo…you name it. I grabbed the couscous (how can you not love something that cooks in five minutes flat?). With the artichoke hearts in hand, and a fridge of just-bought produce, I was ready to go.

Here it is: a little something I threw together for a quickie lunch on Sunday. We often have all of these things in our pantry/fridge, and together, it’s just pure divinity. The dish took ten minutes flat and required no brainpower or culinary tricks to execute: score! I love cold salads like this: they’re so refreshing and you can essentially throw anything into the mix. I added the chickpeas for some heft and protein. We do something similar in the summer, but hot: simply grill every veggie in your fridge and mix with a bit of olive oil and couscous, top with some Parm and some lemon zest and a handful of herbs and swoon. It’s our summertime go-to favorite.

Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a side.

Couscous and Chickpea Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 10 oz. spinach, sautéed (more or less)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
  • 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts in oil, chopped
  • ½ cup packed Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tb. Olive oil for sautéing spinach (and adding to dish)
  • Few ounces of feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook couscous (one cup couscous = one cup water). When that is cooking, add the tomatoes, beans, onion, and artichokes to a large bowl. Mince garlic and sauté for a quick minute and then add spinach, until wilted. Now add the cooked couscous and spinach to your bowl and mix (add the oil from the skillet, too). Add the parsley, feta, and lemon juice and mix gently. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (I used several grinds for both). Serve or refrigerate.

Just putting on the finishing touches...

Ah....there we go.


  1. sometimes i think my hunger is satisfied just looking at your concoctions...

  2. Well, thank you! (Now go eat something!) ;-)