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Originally published Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 6:03 AM

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Recipe: Couscous Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Dijon

Quick-cooking whole-wheat couscous forms the backbone of this salad peppered with ripe tomato and zesty greens.


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Makes 4 to 6 main-course salads

Quick-cooking whole-wheat couscous forms the backbone of this salad peppered with ripe tomato and zesty greens.

½ head cauliflower, cored, separated into small florets (total about 8 cups)

4 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil or olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt, about

1 box (8.8 ounces) whole-wheat Israeli couscous

½ cup golden raisins

4 large ripe plum tomatoes, cored, diced

½ large seedless cucumber, peeled, cut in small dice

½ small red onion, finely diced, well rinsed

Dijon dressing, see recipe

4 ounces crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese

4 cups watercress, arugula or baby kale (or a combination)

¼ cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds

Balsamic glaze

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet (or use two baking sheets). Sprinkle lightly with salt, about ¼ teaspoon. Roast cauliflower, stirring occasionally, until golden and fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Cool.

2. Meanwhile, put remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups water; heat to a boil. Add couscous and ½ teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low; cover the pot. Cook until nearly tender, about eight minutes. Let stand a couple of minutes; drain in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in raisins and let cool.

(For the couscous, you can substitute 12/3 cups — 10 ounces — cracked wheat [medium-grain bulgur] soaked in 3 cups very hot water to cover in a large bowl until nearly tender, usually about 1 hour. Drain well before using.)

3. Stir roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber and onion into couscous. Refrigerate covered up to one day.

4. Just before serving, add dressing to couscous mixture to taste. Gently mix salad. Add cheese crumbles and watercress. Toss to mix. Serve sprinkled with sunflower seeds and drizzled with a little balsamic glaze.

Dijon dressing: Mix ½ cup oil, ¼ cup white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a jar with a tightfitting lid. Shake well before using. Makes about ¾ cup. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

— JeanMarie Brownson, Chicago Tribune



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