Summery Grain or Lentil Salad

This is a versatile Summer salad. The base can be a grain, dried bean, lentil or even tiny pasta. Indeed you can mix them as well. Use couscous, barley, freekeh, burghul, Israeli couscous, small pasta, horse gram, quinoa, rice, puy lentils, matki beans, butter beans or haricot beans. This is definitely a salad that helps you clean out your pantry – use any grain, lentil or bean that you have available. Today I am using barley mixed with a little tiny pasta.

Just a note about the salad dressing. It uses a curry powder. Either use a good quality one or make your own. My Mother used to make a Curried Rice Salad, and we loved it. This is my take on that salad. Today I have used barley as a base, with a little tiny tubular pasta. It is great alongside an Halloumi Burger and steamed sweetcorn!

Similar dishes include Freekeh and Burghul Pilaf, Quinoa Salad with Orange, Pasta and Couscous Salads, and Parsley, Barley and Feta Salad.

Browse all our very many Salads, and all of our Barley recipes. Or browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Crispy Couscous and Saffron Cakes

What a beautiful dish! Couscous is soaked with saffron and mixed with barberries and feta to form wonderful patties that are cooked until crisp and utterly delicious. They have an addictive flavour of mint and saffron. You will love them.

The patties are quite easy to make – relatively easy for an Ottolenghi recipe. The couscous is soaked, the barberries infused, the mixture made and the patties cooked.

Couscous is the tiny hand-rolled semolina pasta of North Africa that immigrants introduced to Israel and the Middle East. Semolina is made from the first milling of the heart of the durum wheat kernel, and so is halfway between wheat and flour.

These patties have a sweet and salty edge which make them very popular. It is the rice flour and yoghurt that makes them crispy.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column. We have modified this recipe to eliminate the eggs.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Burgers, Falafel, and Vegetable Cutlets.

Browse all of our Couscous dishes and all of our Patty recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Couscous and Chickpea Pilaf with Pistachios

Chickpeas go with just about everything, they are so versatile. I love them with pasta and with freekeh. Tonight they are paired with couscous for a beautiful pilaf scattered with pistachios. The nuts add colour and also beautiful textural contrast. I love using pistachios but pinenuts are also superb.

The best thing about this pilaf is it is made in 5 mins if you use pre-cooked or tinned chickpeas.

Similar dishes include Chana Madra, Saffron and Cardamom Pilaf, Couscous Salad with Orange, Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad, and Couscous with Pinenuts and Sultanas.

Browse all of our Pilafs, Couscous dishes and Chickpea recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Saffron Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Pumpkin

Lately dishes have been coming together nicely – like this one. I had half a butternut left over from making Sweetcorn and Butternut Fritters, and some beautiful but very hard dried apricots from the Afghan shop that needed to be used up. What better way to do that but with couscous. Those dried apricots, by the way, are such a surprise. They look like nothing when dried, so hard and dark in colour, yet they plump up to flavoursome soft apricots when soaked. I love them.

Roast the pumpkin the evening before if you are looking to save time. This is a very easy dish, and it makes a great salad or side dish. It is from Ottolenghi’s Ottolenghi, the first of his books. It is interesting to go back and browse through Ottolenghi – you can see the journey that Yotham has been on, and the journey that we have been on along with him.

Similar recipes include Couscous Salad with Orange, Couscous with Pinenuts and Sultanas, and Couscous Lunches.

Browse all of our Couscous recipes and all of our Butternut dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn feasts.

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Quinoa or Couscous Salad with Orange

A beautiful salad with the slightest suggestion of Middle Eastern flavours and mixing the sweet with the savoury. It is a great Winter salad, when oranges ripen and hang soft and juicy on the trees in the back yard.

We have a few Quinoa salads, either published or coming up. I like to make 2 or 3 of them through the week for lunches or to accompany dinner, cooking enough quinoa for the 3 salads at the beginning of the week. It makes life easy!

Are you after similar recipes? Try Saffron Couscous with Apricots and Pumpkin, Moroccan Salad with Radishes, Quinoa Salad with Apricots and Pecans, Light Couscous Salads, and Pumpkin Couscous Salad.

All of our Quinoa recipes are here, and our Couscous recipes here. Try some Orange recipes. Browse all of our many many salads, or just the Bittman Salads that we have cooked. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Mograbieh (Giant Couscous) and Artichoke Pilaf

Fregola, Mograbieh, Israeli Couscous, Moftoul, Ptitim, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, Kabyle Abazine – no wonder you are confused. These are all variations of couscous used through the Middle East, around the coast to Sardinia, and into Israel. They vary in size and shape, construction and ingredients but are generally larger couscous/pasta with either a round-ish or rice-like shape.

Although the different types can generally be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. These have a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. Another type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls. It was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls. When cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy as they cook, and are excellent at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type (labelled Israeli Couscous!), but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh.

While Ottolenghi uses Fregola for this dish, I suggest using any of the above large couscous types that you have at hand or that are easy for you to purchase. It will still be excellent!

Yes, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

This dish is an unusual one – hearty yet fresh. It is best served just warm or at room temperature.

Similar recipes include Burnt Eggplant and Mograbieh Soup, Artichoke and Potato Salad with Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise, Artichoke Hearts with Mozzarella and Candied Citrus, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Large Couscous dishes, and all of our Pilafs. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Burghul or Couscous with Pine Nuts and Sultanas

An easy dish today, one to bring the Middle East to your table. It makes a great side dish to any meal, and can also be used in place of rice. It is quite pretty! Pine nuts are toasted for full flavour and crunch, sultanas are plumped for sweet lusciousness, and barberries or pomegranate kernels are added for colour.

The base of this dish can be couscous or burghul/cracked wheat, or any similar grain. Cook it, drizzle it with a little ghee or butter, add the ingredients and serve.

Similar recipes include Burghul and Chickpea Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Burghul and Cauliflower Salad with Hazelnuts, Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Spiced Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves, Burghul Salad with Pomegranate, and Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad.

Browse our Burghul dishes and Couscous recipes. All of our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans

Mograbieh is a large couscous/pasta in the shape of pearls. Similar products are known by various names – Ptitim, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Maftoul, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, and more. It is also similar to the Kabyle Abazine and the Sardinian Fregula.

Although they can be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. This one has a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. One type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, is a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls and was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls, and when cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy when cooked and are fantastic at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type, but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh. The pics show the extruded type – I will update when I make this dish again.

For this recipe, a celebration of Spring, use any of these types, cook it with saffron and add broad beans and chilli. You can even use Italian orzo pasta or risoni if you wish.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try Saffron and Cardamom Pilaf, Couscous and Chickpea Pilaf, French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Also try our Saffron Couscous with Apricots and Pumpkin, Burnt Eggplant and Mograbieh Soup, Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, and Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, our Israeli recipes and our Orzo recipes. Enjoy all of our Late Spring recipes here.

Continue reading “Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans”

Light Pasta or Couscous Lunches | Pasta or Couscous Salads

Do you still make as many pasta dishes as you used to? Somehow it has fallen out of fashion somewhat. Rather than the regular pasta night each week, it seems that pasta is more a once-a-month dish. And the fall-back pasta types are spaghetti – thick or thin – or fettuccine. Recently, at an Italian restaurant, I had an amazing macaroni dish and yet I can’t recall the last time I had macaroni. Not even a mac and cheese!

Coincidentally I now have an amazing Italian providore close by, one that holds an amazing array of different pastas, which I vow to explore one by one.

Rather than a hearty evening pasta supper, we have been eating pasta salads – they are so fresh and light, so very appealing, so perfect for Spring and Summer weather. Herbs are growing in the garden after the winter cold – chives, basil, parsley, spring onions (scallions). There are chillies too and Thai basil. Lots of salad type greens that can stand up to a little pasta – baby spinach, rocket, lettuce varieties.

Would you like similar dishes? Try Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Burnt Eggplant and Mograbieh Soup, Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, Elegant Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Pinenuts, Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad, and Rocket and Penne Salad.

Enjoy our other pasta recipes and other Couscous dishes. Take some time to browse our Salads too. Our Italian recipes are also here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad with Chilli Jam

When Autumn takes hold and Winter is just around the corner, salads become heartier.

As the weather gets colder in the transitional months after Summer, Autumnal and Wintery colours are introduced into the kitchen. Pumpkins, polenta, couscous. Pomegranate. Quince, Pears. Apples.

This morning – it is so much cooler in the pre-dawn mornings – pumpkin is roasted until utterly caramelised. Couscous is cooked. And a salad comes together.

Similar dishes include Saffron Couscous with Apricots and Pumpkin, Salad of Butternut Tataki with Udon Noodles, Chargrilled Pumpkin Salad with Labneh and Walnut Salsa, and Couscous with Pinenuts and Sultanas.

You might like to browse our Pumpkin Salad recipes, all of the Pumpkin recipes, and our Couscous recipes. Be inspired by a range of Early Winter dishes.

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