Sunday, July 6, 2008

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

The other day I was looking to pack a picnic lunch (I love picnics - more on that at a later date), and I thought I'd like to bring something made with couscous. So, I pulled this recipe off the internet, and it wasn't until I was in the midst of making it that I realized it was almost exactly the same as yesterday's Quinoa Black Bean Salad, except with couscous. I figured it's still worth posting though because there are a couple of different ingredients, and this one has slightly less chopping and couscous cooks faster than quinoa, so it's a bit easier to make. If you were feeling especially daring, you could even mix up some of the ingredients between recipes, like put tomatoes in this one, and corn in the quinoa version. Whoa! (This is an indication of how exciting my 4th of July weekend has been.)
By the way, you will notice when beans are called for in my recipes I always list them as canned beans. While I would love to get in the habit of using dried beans and cooking them myself, I just don't have the time for this, or haven't made it a priority. I figure someday when that trust fund kicks in (I just know there's one out there from some long lost Aunt that wants to support my dream of opening a cafe), and I no longer have to spend a large portion of my days workin' for the man, then I will discontinue my use of canned beans and spend my extra hours planting my own herbs and soaking beans. Plus, I'm guessing that all two of my readers (one being my mother) are in the same boat and are more likely to use canned beans as well. But, if you have the time, by all means, use dried beans!

Black Bean and Couscous Salad
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 15 oz. cans black beans, drained (the recipe calls for 2 cans, but I only used 1. If you're looking for a more beany salad, use 2)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring the water to a boil in 2 qt or larger saucepan. Stir in the couscous. Cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Note: Most couscous cooking directions usually call for a 1 to 1 ratio of couscous to water, but I find this makes for a dry couscous. I typically use slightly more water or put some olive oil in the water as it's boiling.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the veggies and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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