Cherry Cous Cous Salad

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

The original recipe called for cucumber, but I’m not a big fan so I omitted it. Similarly, if there’s an ingredient that you feel is missing or should be added, feel free to customize this salad however you would like.  You can also substitute quinoa or bulgur for the couscous.

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
2 cups spinach leaves
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved, or 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
5 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced

Toast the almonds, either in a over the stove at medium heat or in an oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until the almonds have just turned golden brown.

In a saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups water, 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ tsp salt and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the couscous. Stir well and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool. Meanwhile, lay 5 or 6 spinach leaves flat on top of one another on cutting board and slice into strips.

Toss together couscous, almonds, spinach, cherries, chickpeas and red onion in large serving bowl. Whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in small bowl. Pour over salad, and toss to coat. Chill 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop, then dig in.