Sunday, September 28, 2008


That's what my dad called black olives. I used to have an aversion to them, half based on my dad's distaste and half because I thought they looked gross. Later, as I matured (form your own opinions), I discovered that I liked black olives. Certain black olives like Kalamata and Nicoise. I'm not trying to sound like a smarmy foodie, I just know that I don't like the presliced, canned black olives. Fish eyes. Ick.

So, when I found a recipe for Mediterranean Couscous, I thought, wow, I can put a dent in the spaghetti sauce jar of olives I got from my sister-in-law. She gets them bulk. And I mean bulk. But they're great and I won't turn down yummy black olives. Dinner last night was couscous with black olives, juicy burgers I managed to grill in between the rain drops, and Macaroni Grill Chianti (cheap and tolerable). Here's my version of couscous salad.

Couscous Salad with Black Olives:


1 (14 1/2 oz.) can chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced (from a jar)
1 (14 oz.) jar artichoke hearts drained and chopped (reserve liquid)
1 (10 oz.) can chickpeas (drained)
1 cup drained, brined, kalamata olives
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs. fresh chopped mint
1 tbs. fresh chopped basil


1/4 cup bottled Italian dressing (your favorite brand)
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
fresh cracked pepper


1. In a medium heavy saucepan bring the broth to a boil, remove from the heat, add the couscous, stir quickly with a fork, and cover for 5 minutes.

2. After 5 minutes, empty the couscous into a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add 2-3 tbs. reserved artichoke hearts liquid while stirring with fork. Continue to fluff every few minutes to cool the couscous to room temperature.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the couscous bowl except dressing.

4. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Pour over couscous mixture and stir well.

5. The salad can be served at room temperature or covered and refrigerated to allow the flavors to blend a bit better.

Now don't judge the recipe based on my poor photography. I enjoyed this room temperature and I did not rinse the olives because I wanted the saltiness. This will probably serve 6-8 people. I'm going to use the leftovers in pita pockets or perhaps mixed in with some pre-seasoned ground lamb.

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