Couscous salad with dates, oranges, zaatar and chick peas
August 21, 2010 • Category: Salads
Daily routine when I want to get the car and go out in Beirut. First, if my daughter is with me, I ask her to kindly swivel the outside mirrors inwards in order to give me one and a half inch extra space on each side of the car. Then I pull the car out of the garage very slowly (an inch at a time) and make sure Ali, the valet parking attendant (there is a clothing store in the building) knows I am pulling out; he then stops incoming traffic (except scooters, who go anywhere in any direction they please); using his right hand fingers that he swats continuously, he makes sure I can actually get the car out without hitting the vehicles parked on both sides of the street, the concrete walls, any drivers that ignored his signals or any pedestrians… (the width of the street is barely enough for my Honda and a spare inch).
After about ten intense minutes of wheel turning, to the left, right and backwards, my neck veins about to erupt and my heart beating at160 beats a minute, Ali nods calmly (while the six to eight cars that he stopped honk in tow), and tells me ” You are done, lady, now go, and Allah be with you (allah ma’ek)”.
Dates are a much beloved fruit in the middle-east, especially during Ramadan; an old friend of my dad’s is visiting from Baghdad and brought a box of these, as sweet as can be, with a flesh so soft it melts in your mouth. This couscous salad is composed of these dates, some orange segments, chick peas and for a little kick some fresh zaatar, yet another variety of oregano grown in Lebanon and called zaatar akhdar or green zaatar.
This zaatar is pungent and is used in salads usually (although I tried it in a pesto); it can be substituted for any green with a peppery taste, such as dandelion or radish greens or baby arugula.
The dressing for this salad is simply fresh orange juice, olive oil and a dash of curry powder.
- 1/2 package of couscous or 250 g
- a cube of vegetable bouillon (optional, or water)
- a cup of chopped green onions
- a cup of fresh zaatar or a handful of radish greens or dandelion or baby arugula
- 4 large oranges
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 can of chick peas (garbanzo), rinsed, drained and boil simmer a bit in fresh water, then peeled if possible
- 1 cup (or more) of dates, pitted and chopped coarsely
- salt, pepper, to taste, and a dash of curry powder
- Cook the couscous according to the directions on the package, using the vegetable bouillon instead of water if desired.
- Make the dressing: juice the oranges, leaving two for segments; add double the volume of olive oil and some salt, pepper and curry to taste.
- When the couscous is ready, add the peeled chick peas, the dates, green onions, orange segments cut in half and zaatar. Mix and add the dressing, mixing it beforehand to make sure it is well emulsified. Serve.
NOTE: This salad is also delicious with the addition of grated carrots and raisins.
23 Comments • Comments Feed
Love couscous, so versatile and delicious.
On August 21, 2010 at 8:55 am
Great looking salad…yummm..
On August 21, 2010 at 9:22 am
You continue to amaze!! Fantastic, I love serving on the bottom of the artichoke. I will “steal” that one from you, too!!! Great minds post alike; just posted couscous on the video series and when we taped the TV pilot yesterday we had a Sage brown butter dish.
Cheers-that weather sounds like here in Fla; definitely need a Rx for white wine to cool off:-)
On August 21, 2010 at 9:50 am
Chef Dennis says:
wow….all that to get your car out….I would be sweating up a storm!!
your cous cous looks delicious, I do have to start serving more of it this year at school1
thanks so much for a wonderful recipe!
On August 21, 2010 at 10:06 am
I just saw some great dates today… perfect for your cous cous. Your car story made me smile having just driven on the ‘wrong side’ on teeny tiny streets… very much a work out on my blood pressure!
On August 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm
Christie @ Fresh says:
I like this combination of flavors. Dates and oranges are such great complements.
On August 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm
Bria @ WestofPersia says:
So creative! You’re right, those dates are amazing. The best of them have a caramel like flavor.
On August 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm
Well, this post doesn’t make me nervous about driving at all. 😉
A beautiful dish, though! I’ve never heard of zaatar akhdar – only the spice mix. Thank you for enlightening me; I hope to one day try it! 🙂
On August 21, 2010 at 8:07 pm
After all this sportive driving…I am sure you were ready for this delicious couscous salad ! I would be at any time 🙂 Thanks for your inspiring blog, always.
On August 22, 2010 at 1:20 am
Angie's Recipes says:
What a delicious and healthy couscous salad!
On August 22, 2010 at 5:19 am
parfait avec la chaleur qui fait ici !!! Pierre
On August 22, 2010 at 6:40 am
I don’t think I would ever have the nerve to drive in Beirut! And I can’t keep up with your prolific posting (though I try). So many dishes … so little time.
On August 22, 2010 at 8:09 am
Sushma Mallya says:
Beautiful & delicious salad..
On August 22, 2010 at 8:15 am
Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:
I have been in India, never have driven myself, and that was hairy enough. Drove in Crete but tried to stay in the country for the most part. Love reading your recipes. Now I just have to make them.
On August 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm
The Gypsy Chef says:
Yup, I feel for you. I’ve just been doing the same to my mirrors in Sicily. In those narrow streets even a Fiat Cinquecento seems like a Sedan de Ville. Your a brave woman Joumana. But your couscous, with those luscious dates sounds wonderful. Thanks for posting.
On August 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm
This is such a great use for dates! This salad sounds very refreshing with the orange segments, and the za’atar is such a wonderful savory addition!
On August 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm
This salad sounds just spectacular, what a wonderful tasty treat.
On August 24, 2010 at 8:14 pm
asia jo says:
Delicious! I just made this dish and I am loving it so much! Thank you for sharing 🙂
On September 14, 2010 at 10:14 am
Un adorable petit dôme plein de charme et de goûts….
On March 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm
Angel of the North says:
That looks gorgeous – what’s the herb sprig on top?
On June 19, 2011 at 1:57 am
@Angel of the North: The herb is fresh zaatar, an herb that is found and consumed in Lebanon in salads and even pickled. Can be substituted for tarragon.
On June 19, 2011 at 7:46 am
Hi, I made it yday and it was delicious. I plan to make it for a party crowd this Sunday. Can you please suggest a substitute for chickpeas? Thanks a bunch.
On March 1, 2013 at 9:34 am
@Mithila: I’d use other legumes, like pinto beans or yellow split-peas or white beans; if it is legumes you don’t want, how about artichoke bottoms, sliced (they are sold frozen or canned in most Middle-Eastern grocers).
On March 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm