Lunch, for me (and I assume most people) is one of those meals that usually needs to be squeezed in quickly and conveniently into the day. Whether it’s after a workout, between auditions, before a meeting or at my desk while blogging, it’s not a meal for which I usually have a lot of time to luxuriate. It’s also a meal that should be healthy, balanced and satisfying enough to get you through the rest of your important day. One of my favorite quick lunch-on-the-go options is the always delicious and super healthy Whole Foods salad bar. I find myself craving it often but only occasionally close enough to one to rationalize going. I feel pretty sorry for myself that I don’t live within a mile of a Whole Foods. But then it got me thinking about what exactly I was craving…and could I make it at home? That wonderful Israeli couscous salad with cranberries and pecans came to mind. I Googled it and found I wasn’t alone. Many others have sought to replicate the salad bar favorite. So I made it at home, omitting the ingredients that I did not have on hand. I made a lot and served it as a side with my Cornish game hens. The leftovers were a terrific no-need-to-fight-for-a-parking-spot-at-Whole-Foods lunch meal served with fresh baby spinach.
Israeli Couscous Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
- 1.5 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup toasted pecans, toasted and broken into halves and quarters
- 3 scallions, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp grape seed oil
- 1.5 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1 orange, zest
- 1/2 orange, juiced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the couscous and let cook for about 9 minutes. Drain it but do not rinse.
In a small bowl, whisk together the grape seed oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice, spices and salt and pepper.
In a large bowl stir together couscous, cranberries, pecans and scallions. Add the dressing and combine well.