When you long for the rich taste of the Middle East, look no farther than this yummy spiced chickpea and Israeli couscous salad. Couscous, which gives this salad a unique Middle Eastern vibe, is one of the easiest pastas to prepare—and olive oil, lemon juice, chickpeas, and dates add an authenticity that dates back to ancient times.
What makes this exotic salad even more satisfying is that it’s as good for you as it is delicious. Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and prebiotic fiber, as well as essential nutrients like calcium, choline, magnesium, manganese, folate, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin B6—all of which support cardiovascular health, strong bones, comfortable digestion, optimal weight, and endocrine function. Olive oil provides healthy fat; almonds contribute additional good fats, protein, and prebiotics; and the variety of fresh produce adds even more nutrients, prebiotics, and antioxidants to the mix.
Enjoy this salad as a main dish for a light, refreshing lunch, or as an appetizer to complement an Israeli dinner of falafel, tahini, and baba ganoush on whole grain pita. However you serve it, prepare to be transported to a very special part of the world!
Spiced Chickpeas Ingredients:
• 2 15.5 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
• Salt to taste
• ½ cup Israeli Couscous
• ¾ cup water
• ½ teaspoon olive oil
• Salt to taste (optional)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
Additional Salad Ingredients:
• ½ cup chopped zucchini
• ½ cup diced carrots
• ½ cup quartered grape tomatoes
• ½ cup diced green onions
• ½ cup chopped parsley
• ¾ cup chopped spinach
• ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
• 6 diced, pitted dates (cut in half lengthwise and cut each half into fourths)
For the chickpeas:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan.
2. Add chickpeas and season with paprika, cayenne, and salt.
3. Sautee for about 5–7 minutes, until lightly browned.
4. Pour chickpeas in large bowl.
For the couscous:
1. While chickpeas are cooking, bring water to a boil with olive oil and salt.
2. When water is boiling, add couscous.
3. Simmer on low, covered, for 6–8 minutes or until done.
4. Drain couscous and cool.
5. Add to chickpea mixture.
To assemble the salad:
1. While the chickpeas are still hot, add chopped carrots so they can soften.
2. Combine dressing ingredients.
3. When chickpea/carrot/couscous mixture is cool, add remaining vegetables, almonds, dates, and dressing.
4. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
For more gut-healthy recipes, check out The Hyperbiotics Cookbook.