Recipe: Pearl Couscous Salad with Oven Roasted Capsicums and Goat Cheese

There's nothing I love more than rustling up a simple and quick, yet flavourful salad for lunch (or dinner) when we are strapped for time. And these days, that's quite often. Coming into the warm summer months, I want to up my salad game and use a lot more local and seasonal ingredients. So, I am excited to share more farm to plate salads over the next few months. When I make a salad, I first see what we already have in the pantry and fridge, and go from there instead of heading to the grocer to buy everything I need. I have found this approach, where I am forced to be creative and use what I have, always produces the best results.

One of my all time favourite salads is my Pearl Couscous Salad with Oven Roasted Capsicums and Goat Cheese. For those of you who don't know, pearl couscous is also known as Ptitim; they're small balls of toasted semolina flour and were first made in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce. It can be enjoyed like rice and pasta, and is ready to eat in 10 minutes. I used to think pearl couscous wasn't as nutritious as brown rice, but recently found out that calorie-wise, couscous comes out on top. It has less calories, more fibre and more protein. But that's if they're made with semolina, so check the back of the packet. 

When I cook, I love finding ways to give my dishes more depth of flavour, and in this case, it's as simple cooking the pearl couscous in vegetable stock instead of plain water. It's not revolutionary by all means, but this tiny tweak elevates what is effectively, a simple ingredient. You can get your hands on pearl couscous in most supermarkets now, but if you can't find it, normal couscous will also be really lovely.

When it comes to salads, I am all about flavour (of course) but also texture. The couscous is soft, and so is the oven roasted capsicum. Combined with the creaminess of the goat cheese, a little crunch is needed. It's important to add that element of crunch with the crunchy sprouts. Now I am very aware that pregnant women should not eat sprouts due to the risk of salmonella and other nasty things that could happen in your gut and body during pregnancy, so if that's you or if you are making this salad for someone who is pregnant, swap the crunchy sprouts for snow peas or sugar snap peas. And don't just throw them in, slice them finely as it adds another textural element to the dish. And while I like to season the salad before serving, I find a little bit more sea salt and cracked pepper at the very end (on top of the goat cheese) seals the deal. Ok, let's get started!

 

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Smor-Kitchen-Pearl-Couscous-with-Oven-Roasted-Capsicum-and-Goat-Cheese-Recipe

 

Serves: 4

Prep time: 40 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl couscous (made from wheat)
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 red capsicums
  • 3 cups of fresh spinach, finely sliced 
  • 1 packet Crunchy Sprouts (or any sprouts you can get your hands on. If you're pregnant, finely slice 2 cups of snow peas or sugar snap peas)
  • Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat Cheese from Coles or Woolworths (or any other goat cheese, but truly this one is the absolute best)
  • 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper, to season

 

Method

  1. Slice your capsicum lengthways, and remove/discard the seeds and inner membrane. Spay sheet pan with olive oil spray, place the capsicum onto the sheet pan (skin facing up) and spray the skins with olive oil spray. Roast the capsicums for 30 to 35 minutes or until the skins browned/blackened and tender. Transfer the capsicums to a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap; this will help the skins to peel off easily later on. Set aside. 
  2. Begin by bringing vegetable stock to boil in a medium saucepan. When the stock is bubbling away, add the pearl couscous and turn down the heat to medium. The pearl couscous should take 10 minutes to cook, or follow the instructions on the packet.
  3. While your couscous is cooking, peel the skins from capsicum. Slice the capsicums when they have cooled down slightly. I don't like to throw the skins out; you can slice them finely to enjoy in this salad or I like to eat the skins as I continue to prep the salad - they're actually really delicious!
  4. Place the sliced spinach leaves on the bottom of your salad bowl.
  5. When the pearl couscous is ready, strain using a colander and place the couscous on top of the spinach leaves so they wilt under the warmth of the couscous.
  6. Add the sliced capsicum and crunchy sprouts with the couscous and fold gently to combine. Add salt and pepper to season. Drizzle some of the oil from the Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat Cheese to the salad and the juice of a lemon - these additions takes this salad to a whole other level.
  7. Divide the salad into 4 bowls and top with one cube of Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat Cheese per bowl.
  8. Serve straightaway while it's still warm.

 

Tip: If you are preparing to serve later on, after Step 6, microwave until the salad is warm, then add the goat cheese on top after.

 

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Smor-Kitchen-Pearl-Couscous-with-Oven-Roasted-Capsicum-and-Goat-Cheese-Recipe

Smor-Kitchen-Pearl-Couscous-with-Oven-Roasted-Capsicum-and-Goat-Cheese-Recipe

Smor-Kitchen-Pearl-Couscous-with-Oven-Roasted-Capsicum-and-Goat-Cheese-Recipe

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Smor-Kitchen-Pearl-Couscous-with-Oven-Roasted-Capsicum-and-Goat-Cheese-Recipe

 

 

 


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