Also known as my “Peace in the Middle East Salad” or my “Make Love Not War Salad”. When Israel and Iran work together, beautiful things can happen. If only politics could be this easy! In my modern interpretation of a traditional Shirazi Salad, toasty Israeli couscous meets fresh cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, mint and lime. The result is a delicious, refreshing and hearty middle eastern salad.
I have recently become obsessed with Israeli couscous. It is so versatile and is delicious in warm pilafs and cold salads and is a good substitute for rice, pasta or quinoa. Israeli couscous, also known as Ptitim, is a toasted wheat “pasta” that is shaped into little pearls. It is a very popular dish among children in Israel and is available in whole wheat and spelt for the health conscious. I like preparing it for my daughter with some butter, parmesan and lemon.
This salad is one of my favourite ways to serve Israeli couscous. It is a delicious accompaniment to a variety of grilled meat and fish dishes. I especially love it with Jujeh Kabab!
Persian Inspired Israeli Couscous Salad
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
2 cups water
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, diced (1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup diced seedless cucumber (1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
In a small pot, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the couscous and toast for 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes (water should be evaporated and the couscous tender).
Put into a large bowl and add 1/8 cup olive oil. Let cool. When it is cool, fluff the couscous up with a spoon. Sometimes the pearls stick together you might need to spend a few minutes separating them with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, mint, lime juice, salt, pepper and remainder of the olive oil. Stir to combine.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and lime juice if necessary. Enjoy!