Every time pomegranate season rolls around I get all excited and buy a whole bunch of them, only to later find I resist eating them. If you're a pomegranate eater, maybe you know what I mean. It's not the taste; the little pomegranate jewels are better than candy. It's the fact that it takes so long to separate the seeds from the pith, and no matter how careful I am, the red juice seems to get everywhere. Oh pomegranates, you're the only fruit worth the trouble.
This time around, that higher purpose is a Pomegranate Couscous Salad, a tame melangee of Middle Eastern flavors. The tang of the pomegranate seeds plays nicely with the vegetable broth-infused couscous, rounded out with some chopped almonds for texture, fresh parsley and a smattering of earthy pea shoots. No single flavor dominates the dish, kind of like a string quartet, you know, lovely harmony without anyone going all rogue rock star.
And I should mention that Logan has declared "the best salad ever" and got excited about eating twice in a row. I didn't particularly expect this to be the salad that pleases my man, but hey, surprises are the spice of life. I sure don't blame him.
If you need some instructions on how exactly to deal with pomegranates, check out this tutorial with pictures, which is super handy.
Serves 4 as a side
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 handful pea shoots
Salt, to taste
1. In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes, and then fluff with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature (put it in the fridge if you want it to cool faster).
2. Place the couscous in a large bowl, along with the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, agave, cinnamon and cayenne and stir well. Add the pomegranate, parsley, almonds and sunflower sprouts and toss to combine. Depending on the saltiness of your vegetable broth, you might want to add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste.
Serve with hummus and toasted pita or bread, with a fresh-sliced tomato on the side if you so desire.
The pea shoots bring an earthy balance to this pomegranate couscous salad, but if you can't find them, I suspect many young tender greens would work just fine.
Well to all my fellow Canadians who are celebrating Remembrance Day, hope your long weekend is great and the weather holds out. And for everyone else, happy 11:11:11 day, and be sure to make the best wish ever. Au revoir!