Couscous Therapy

I remember vaguely the first time I ate couscous. I was about nine years old, at an African restaurant in Paris. It involved a lot of eating with your hands. Aside from that, the only part I remember is that my mother got food poisoning.

Subconsciously, I believe this left a negative association on me towards couscous for many years. But don’t be too concerned, I have been rehabilitated to savor the taste of the delicious grain.

The most common types of couscous are Moroccan and Israeli, Moroccan being the smaller of the two grains. Israeli couscous can take longer to cook, but it holds sauces better and makes great leftovers that are not soggy. Seeing as leftovers are the basis of my sustenance at school, I figured I’d try out an Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad.

I always am shocked when I make something edible. I make enough mistakes in the kitchen, whether it be that time in 3rd grade when I forgot vanilla extract in my cookies, or when I set up a milkshake stand on the side of the road, selling watered down ice cream slush. Once I made homemade pudding with cinnamon and spices that tasted like lawnmower clippings. And so I am amazed every time when a dish is, well, good.

This dish is simple, easy, and once again, oven-free. I’m looking forward to the leftovers tremendously, particularly after the flavors of feta, tomatoes, basil and citrus saturate overnight.

Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad

Makes a lot

3 cups couscous

1/2 a basket of cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered

1 can cooked chickpeas

1 lemon, cut in half

1 lime, cut in half

extra-virgin olive oil

salt, to taste

ground pepper, to taste

1/3 cup basil, chopped

1/3 cup feta


Cook couscous according to package directions. Toss with tomatoes, cucumbers, and chickpeas in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon and lime into the bowl. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (I added more salt at the end, too.) Mix in chopped basil and feta.

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