Friday, August 14, 2009

Warm Whole Grain Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans, Feta and Cherry Tomatoes

A Great Source of Fiber and Vegetarian Protein
Couscous is a tiny pasta that's common in Algerian and Moroccan cuisine. It reminds me of pastina, the Italian equivalent that I grew up with. I love the "lightness" of couscous and have been on the outlook for a "whole grain" version of this pasta for years. I was thrilled to find whole grain couscous at Trader Joe's this weekend. I quickly scooped it up and couldn't wait to try it. Whole grain pasta always contains more fiber and other nutrients than its highly processed counterpart. To get at least 25 grams of fiber per day needed for optimum health, you really shouldn't waste many meals with processed and refined foods. This whole grain couscous recipe packs over 11 grams of fiber per serving (almost half of your daily requirement) with most of it coming from the whole grain couscous and garbanzo beans. It also provides 15 grams of high quality protein per serving. Garbanzo beans contain all 9 essential amino acids.

Warm Whole Grain Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans, Feta and Cherry Tomatoes [serves 4]
For the Couscous
1 1/3 cups whole grain couscous
1 1/3 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the Dressing
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
For the Salad
1 15 oz can, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons scallions, finely sliced, green and white parts
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (more or less to taste)
Salt to taste

Bring water, salt and olive oil to a boil. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes until the water is absorbed and then fluff with a fork and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic for the dressing and set aside. Place the prepared couscous in a bowl and combine with garbanzo beans and dressing. Gently stir in scallions, parsley, tomatoes and feta cheese. Adjust the salt, if needed, and serve immediately.

Per serving: 391 calories, 10.8 g fat, 2.6 g saturated fat, 8.3 g cholesterol, 15 g protein, 61 g carbohydrates and 11.4 grams of fiber.

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