Israeli Couscous Salad with Fresh Cherries and Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
MUSIC PAIRING: Ben Howard, I Forget Where We Were
FINALLY, I’m back. Summer has been really hectic for me so I’ve been pretty absent in the kitchen sadly. I have not, however, been absent with eating. Be it a healthy watermelon salad in one sitting or a plate full of ribs and mac and cheese in another, I’ve done Summer right by way of food. It just hasn’t been my food necessarily. I think I paid my cooking dues with the Bathtub Brewhouse tasting I did last month. Speaking of, as promised to all the attendees, I’ll be sharing each of the recipes I made here on The Salty Peach. Cue the ooo’s and ahhh’s.
The most popular recipe at the tasting by far was my pimiento cheese. As luck would have it, I’ve already got that one ready to go for you so please do yourself a favor and make it immediately.
The second most popular recipe was the Israeli couscous salad which was totally and completely delicious. I can’t take credit for the base recipe though. The lovely Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt came up with this one, I just happened to re-vamp and adjust it a good bit.
This salad is the best combination of freshness, textures and flavors. It’s filling but light and just about the best way to cram Summer into your mouth in one bite. From the fresh mint to the juicy cherries to the salty feta to the crunchy almonds, this dish is seriously fantastic.
Every bite was demolished at the tasting which made me very sad. I wanted leftovers in a bad way. I suppose the compliment that is people loving your food is worth more than leftovers though, eh?
Why Ben Howard? I was casually chatting with Mom about Walking Dead while I made this salad (and while she pitted the cherries in those photos above, angel of a woman that she is) and I was telling her about how some of the music is so good and dark and moving. Since I’m an obsessed Walking Dead psycho and Ben Howard’s music has aired on a few episodes, I had to introduce her to him. I’m kinda hoping that’ll make her more interested in Walking Dead so we can talk about it but whatever, Ben Howard is good enough as is I suppose.
Recipe by: Not Without Salt
- 3 cups Israeli couscous
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate Molasses (I ordered the Cortas brand off Amazon)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups cherries, pitted and quartered
- 1 cup (4 ounces) marcona almonds
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups, packed fresh parsley and mint leaves
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- Cook the couscous in boiling water that is seasoned with salt and a glug of olive oil. Drain the couscous while it’s still al dente, about 7-9 minutes but each variety is different so continually check the doneness.
- Rinse the couscous with cold water to stop the cooking then set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the pomegranate molasses, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add this to the couscous.
- Mix in the cherries, almonds and onion.
- Finely mince the fresh herbs and add those to the salad. Finish with fresh feta.
- Taste and adjust to your liking, adding more salt or lemon juice if needed.
- I've given you the recipe and instructions exactly how Ashley lists them on her site. However, I found that due to the very tart nature of the pomegranate molasses, I needed to add sugar to the vinaigrette. Also, my ratios of ingredients varied much differently than Ashley's and I did a light pickle on the red onions to lessen some of their raw bite.
- I didn't have time to write out all of my changes as I was making this but the great thing about salad recipes like this is that you can adapt them any which way you'd like. Add a little more of this or a little less of that and make it your own! Honestly, you cannot go wrong here as all of the ingredients are delicious in any quantity.