from Vegetarian Express by Nava Atlas and Lillian Kayte

Prepare the couscous salad:

1 1/2 c couscous
1 small package (2 c) fresh carrot sticks, cut into 1-inch lengths (I just used 3 large peeled carrots)
1 small white turnip, cut into sticks
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
1 medium zucchini, cut into quarters and then 1-inch chunks
2 medium tomatoes, diced
3 tbsp light olive oil
juice of one large lemon, or more to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
fresh cilantro, minced (optional)

Cover the couscous with 3 cups of boiling water in a heat-proof dish. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables as directed. When the couscous has absorbed all the water, fluff it with a fork, then combine it with the vegetables and remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Toss the salad well to combine.

Prepare the spiced chickpeas:

2 1-pound cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c chopped scallions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground coriander
dark green lettuce leaves

Combine all of the ingredients except the lettuce in a serving bowl and toss well.

Place each serving on a bed of lettuce. Serves 6.

Seriously, this was one of the easiest meals I’ve ever made! It’s really nice and light, yet still satisfying. I was wary about using all of those raw veggies- uncooked zucchini activates my gag reflex like nothing else, but I’m trying to trust recipes in order to keep out of trouble. I’m so glad that I did! The lemon helps with any bitterness that might have happened with said zucchini, and gave the dish such a great flavor. And can we talk about the spiced chickpeas? So good! They were almost sweet, and it was such a satisfying accompaniment to the salad. The recipe suggested serving it with warm pita breads, and I used this whole wheat naan that I’m in love with. The author suggests sprinkling the leftover salad with some water if it gets clumpy, but it wasn’t necessary. It would be perfect to make ahead and pack in your lunch!
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