Couscous Salad with Winter Squash and Cranberries

Yield: 6 servings

The component parts (squash, couscous, onions) of this salad need to be cooked and cooled prior to being mixed together, so I suggest starting early. Added bonus – this salad gets better as it sits, anyway. I used the goat cheese and walnuts – they make delicious additions!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (or other hard winter squash), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-3 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 oz goat cheese (if desired)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts-coarsely chopped (if desired)

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with a bit of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast squash, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before combining with other ingredients.
  2. Boil water in saucepan, add the couscous and stir, then remove the pan from heat, cover with a lid, and let sit for about 10 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  3. Sauté the onion in a skillet over medium-high heat until translucent and set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, zest, spices, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. In a large bowl, combine squash, couscous, onions, garbanzo beans, and cranberries, then pour on the vinegar-oil dressing and stir to combine. Taste to check seasoning and add salt if needed.
  6. Crumble the goat cheese into chunks and gently fold into the salad, along with the walnuts. Make sure the salad is room temperature at this point or the goat cheese will melt. This salad can be served room temperature or cold. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from edible Pioneer Valley

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