Couscous is one of my favorite side dishes. It can easily be made on Yom Tov, and creates almost no mess. Roast the beets up to three days ahead, and this salad becomes a beautiful, quick, throw together dish. Try to dice the vegetables into uniform pieces to create a nice effect.
- 2 large beets (1 yellow and 1 purple) -
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus some for rubbing beets -
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion -
- 3/4 tsp cumin -
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous, raw -
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt -
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper -
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water -
- 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice -
- 1 cucumber (unpeeled), diced -
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped -
- 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped -
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves (approximately) -
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (200°C).
2. Rub the beets in olive oil and wrap each one separately in aluminum foil. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes (less for smaller beets). Unwrap. When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins, dice, and set aside.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cumin and sauté until translucent. Add the couscous, salt, and pepper, and stir, letting the couscous pieces get coated by the oil. Add boiling water and turn off flame, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl.
4. Add the reserved beets, lemon juice, cucumber, mint, parsley, and remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. When ready to serve, toss with the spinach leaves. Serve at room temperature.
If you can find preserved lemons (a Sephardic or Moroccan delicacy) in your grocery store, add a few finely cut wedges for an additional wonderful flavor.