Smoked Paprika Couscous Salad

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Can I be honest about something with you guys?

Sometimes I feel awkward when writing posts for Cooking is My Sport. I know that for the most part people just read food blogs to look at the pictures of food and peruse recipes to cook, but more often recently I find myself wanting to write about more than just my motivation for a recipe, or the process of how I cooked it or how it tasted. Maybe it’s just because in addition to cooking, I’m almost semi-obsessed with reading and (yes) even writing, but a lot of times I just want to write about more than the food.

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I like being subscribed to a lot of food blogs on WordPress for the food of course, but I also like reading blogs where I can also get to know the bloggers, as well as their food.I don’t know about some of you guys, but a lot of the food that I’ve shared with you so far is greatly influenced by my life and who I am personally. Sometimes I do choose recipes at random to cook and share just out of curiosity, but for the most part I just end up cooking food that:

1) I myself want to eat

2) Represents my Southern/African American heritage

3) Someone in my family asks me to make for them

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That’s where my inspiration lies for cooking in general, and I like sharing that with everyone who takes the time to read this blog. I feel like I’m getting way off topic here, but I guess the crux of what I’m trying to say is that in the future I want to try and play with the format of how I write posts on the blog. You guys will definitely still be getting pictures of food, but I may also want to talk about something totally random at the same time.  I hope that that’s okay. If it’s not, you can feel free to just skip past everything I say and just to get to the recipe itself. I won’t mind.

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And speaking of food…couscous. Before making this dish, I had absolutely no experience with making couscous before. All I knew was that it sounded cute/funny when I said it out loud. Couscous. Heh. I can almost see me naming a puppy Couscous, except maybe I’d spell it differently or something. Yeah, I’m just weird like that.

Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network cooks A LOT with couscous. I saw the episode where she made this one and it looked so good that I thought I would give it a whirl myself.  I went and bought some Israeli couscous from my grocery store….and did nothing with it. For about 3 months. I was looking through my pantry one day and came across this $11.00 jar of couscous and (cheap-skate that I am) started getting really irritated that I still had done nothing with this stuff. So I went back onto Food Network.com and found the recipe that I had seen Giada make. I made some modifications of my own to the recipe (like eliminating the feta, I HATE feta) but still kept it pretty close to the original.

Couscous is not only ridiculously easy to cook, it’s also very tasty guys. You should give this one a shot, it’s every bit as yummy as it is pretty.

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Smoked Paprika Couscous Salad

Recipe Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) Israeli couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 12 ounces grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or baby heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, halved (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup jarred red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. For the dressing: Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.

2. For the couscous: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Add 2 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. Mix together the spinach, tomatoes, peppers, parsley, and almonds in a large bowl. Add the couscous and the dressing. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve.

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19 thoughts on “Smoked Paprika Couscous Salad

  1. Such amazing photography! Just the colors alone make me happy, and then the dish looks so appetizing to boot! I agree with you, by the way. While it’s fun to worship at the altar of ‘food,’ it’s the people behind the food that make a post compelling.

  2. Hey, your couscous looks amazing! Now I want to make some too haha. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I like reading more about other food bloggers too. I also find it really interesting to read about traditional dishes from other cultures. I follow a couple farming blogs too. It’s cool to hear about how that end of the food industry works. Happy blogging!

  3. I must admit I am more recipe oriented, but I do like it when the blogger gives some personal background, and I find myself mostly following bloggers who post with their name and a photo.

    Your recipe looks great! I grew up in Israel, so obviously I use Israeli couscous a lot. If you’re interested in another recipe for Israeli couscous with a more Mediterranean-style salad, I invite you to check out my post “Scallops with lemon, thyme and red pepper cream sauce with Israeli Couscous salad”. 🙂

    • You’d think it was by that price lol But really it just came from one of those gourmet brands that mark stuff up high ‘just because’. As yummy as the dish is, I still think in the future I’m going to be looking for something cheaper 😉

  4. It’s totally ok to be random, and I look forward to reading what is on your mind!! ❤ I enjoy your blog.. truly.

    Wow… this recipe is wonderful!! I think it would be an awesome side dish, but more importantly, a main dish!! Your photos are so perfect. LOVE this…

    • Thanks Prudy, I try really hard with my photos so that means a lot to me. And you already know I love reading your blog too ❤

      This would definitely work as a main dish too- in fact, I've mixed in a baked chicken breast with the leftovers and it was WONDERFUL!

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