Friday, October 16, 2009

Cous Cous Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberry


Recently an annual family reunion was coming up. I think I was feeling guilty over the decision to bring not one but TWO desserts (cupcakes, to appear on the blog later; and these INCREDIBLE Caramel Cocoa Crispy Bars), and I felt the need to come up with a healthy side.

I had a butternut squash remaining from my most recent CSA box, and I was determined to do something with it. I wanted to find some kind of healthy salad that would showcase the squash. After much recipe searching, and some discussion with an incredibly talented and nice blogger, I decided to make this recipe I found on TheKitchn. The Kitchn has yet to steer me wrong. It was there I found the recipe I adapted for my much-loved Broccoli Slaw, as well as these super yummy Ginger Glazed Pear Muffins.

I was unsure of a couple things. First I wasn’t sure how good this recipe would turn out. I mean, I thought it would be good… but I didn’t know it would be THIS good! Even after I discovered how delicious this was, I still wasn’t sure if my family would like it. It’s a little out there from the kind of stuff we usually eat at the reunion. But I am happy to report that every seemed to love it! (Well.. technically my mother thought it had too much orange zest…) Lots of people inquired about all the different flavors in this.

The squash and cranberry are both traditional, seasonal fall flavors. The dressing you mix together then combine with the cous cous, squash, beans, and berries. It has such a welcoming autumn flavor, with an extra kick from the cumin and coriander. The orange gives it a surprising, refreshing zip; and the white wine vinegar gives it a tang. This went over so well, my mother requested I bring it to her side of the family’s Thanksgiving potluck! I was bummed there was barely a single serving left when it was time to go. I had been anticipating lots of leftovers! In fact, I quickly snapped these photos before we left for the potluck because I was assuming I could do a photoshoot after we got back. Perhaps next time I make this I can get photos that are up to my standards! I just wanted to hurry and get this posted, because YOU might want to serve it for Thanksgiving too!

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Cous Cous Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (or other hard winter squash), peeled* and cut into 1-inch chunks
3/4 cup uncooked cous cous
1 cup water
1 onion, diced
4-5 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--drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. 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.

Heat water in sauce pan to boiling. Add cous cous and stir. Remove pan from heat, cover with a lid, and let sit for about 15 minutes until the cous cous has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Saute onion in a skillet over medium-high heat until translucent. Set aside and allow to cool

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, zest, spices, and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, combine squash, cous cous, onions, garbanzo beans, and cranberries. Pour on the vinegar-oil dressing and stir to combine. Taste to check seasoning and add salt if needed. This salad can be served room temperature or cold.

adapted from TheKitchn


*Wanna know a secret? I sliced my butternut squash in half, scooped out the seeds, and roasted it like that. THEN I sliced and cut it into chunks. As you may or may not know, the skin on an uncooked butternut squash is quite thick! This made it MUCH easier, and I’m definitely doing it like that again!*


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9 Responses to “Cous Cous Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberry”

  1. 1
    TPOX — October 16, 2009 @ 10:05 am

    This looks awesome and perfect for fall! I can't wait to make it!

  2. 2
    Bridget — October 16, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    Pbbbtth! "Incredibly talented and nice." Clearly I've fooled you. :)

    But, seriously, thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed this so much! I love the tip about roasting then peeling, because I HATE peeling raw squash.

  3. 3
    Maris — October 16, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

    This looks SO GOOD! Perfect for this time of the year. I might pick up some butternut squash this weekend and make this!

  4. 4
    CakeBatterandBowl — October 17, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

    I love couscous and this is so seasonal and perfect for this time of year!

  5. 5
    Lesley — October 18, 2009 @ 7:11 am

    Oh, yum. This does sound good. And it's vegan! People think vegan cooking is so difficult (and tasteless) but it's not (or, rather it doesn't have to be!).

  6. 6
    Stephanie — October 21, 2009 @ 9:44 am

    Star, A++!! This is a definite winner! I am so making this very soon. I love cous cous and bnut squash! Perfect combo!!

  7. 7
    Spryte — October 28, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    That looks so tasty!!

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