Sunday, July 17, 2011

Couscous And Garbanzo Bean Salad With Lemon, Lime, And Mint.

Being in the spirit of summer, what with its bounty and all the vegetables abounding in my garden, I've been making nutritious and delicious fresh vegetable dishes using, what I consider underutilized, grains and legumes. Not long ago, I made a Squash/Zucchini/Cucumber/ Pearled Barley/Tarragon-Laced Salad. Today, I'm making a recipe adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper of The Splendid Table. It's a Couscous and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mediterranean flavors. Pairing the grain with the legume creates a complete protein. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. All animal products (meat, fish, poultry, cheese, and eggs), except for gelatin, are complete proteins. Vegetable proteins (grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other vegetables) are said to be incomplete proteins because they are missing one or more of the essential amino acids. However, if you combine any two of grain, legume, or nut and seed, you create a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.
The 9 essential amino acids:
The 11 non-essential amino acids:
  • Alanine (cellular energy production)
  • Arginine* (NO production, circulation, growth hormone, ED)
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic acid
  • Cysteine* (antioxidant, supports healthy hair)
  • Glutamic acid (muscle, immune and intestinal health)
  • Glutamine* (muscle, immune and intestinal health)
  • Glycine*
  • Proline (collagen production)
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine* (mood support, brain booster)
Basically, what I have here is a nutritious, fiber-rich, complex carbohydrate-packed, virtually no fat, terrifically textured, and brightly colored mélange of goodness with a Mediterranean flair of olives, lemons, limes, and fresh mint.

Here's my mise en place.
 Take out one garlic clove, add in one lime,
and appreciate Dixie The Kitchen Dog in the background.
 Israeli whole wheat couscous
garbanzo beans
 multicolored peppers
 red onion
celery stalk
black olives
 salt and pepper

 See those miniature multi-colored peppers at the bottom left? Mr. Hawthorne and I grew those from the seeds of peppers we bought last January from Harris Teeter and Food Lion. Both supermarkets started offering these miniature peppers and we like the small size. They mature rapidly, so I usually have all different colors in the garden.

Couscous And Garbanzo Bean Salad
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 cup multi-colored sweet peppers, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 stalk celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
12 jumbo black olives
½ cup loosely-packed mint leaves
Freshly ground salt and pepper
To prepare garbanzo beans:
Rinse off the beans and add to salted boiling water. Reduce to a simmer and gently cook for about 50-60 minutes. Taste test. I don’t like mushy beans. I like them toothy – al dent√©. Rinse and drain. Let cool.
To prepare couscous:
I use whole wheat Israeli couscous. I heated a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet and added the couscous. Stir fry for a minute or two then slowly add in about a cup of water. Reduce heat. Cover and cook on low for six minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and leave pot covered for about 10 minutes. Fluff and let cool.
For the dressing:
In a large bowl, juice a lemon and a lime. I ended up with ½ cup of juice. Add in the diced red onion, the minced garlic, and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad:
Add the diced peppers, diced celery, chopped olives, garbanzos, and couscous to the dressing. Serve cool or at room temperature, not icy cold.
Now for the step by steps.
I added my garbanzos to boiling, salted water.
 Reduce to simmer and slowly cook
 until the beans reach the texture you like.
 Mine took about 60 minutes.
After 30 minutes,
 start taste testing every five to ten minutes and judge for yourself.
I used Israeli whole wheat couscous.
 I added a cup of the grain into 1 TB of vegetable oil and melted butter.
Stir fry over medium high heat for about two minutes.
Slowly add about one cup of water.
Cover and barely simmer for six minutes, stirring occasionally.
Leave alone for about ten minutes, covered, then fluff and cool.
Prepare the dressing:
 juice of a lemon and lime - 1/2 cup juice
 1/2 red onion, chopped
 1 garlic clove, minced
Add in freshly ground salt and pepper and red onion.

Garlic in.
It's looking good.
I diced my little multicolored peppers ...
... and added them to the dressing.
Diced the celery ...
... and added to the mix.

Chop up a dozen jumbo olives.
Add in 1/2 cup loosely packed mint.
It's wonderful already.
 I love the textures and the colors.

Add in the garbanzos ...
... and the couscous.
I love this.
 I love the textures.
 I love the colors.
 I love the flavors.
This is a beautiful mouthful of summer.
 I am happy and satisfied.


Anonymous said...

That salad looks so summery and colorful! I'm not a big fan of couscous, any suggestions for a substitute?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Anony,you could use another type of small pasta, say acini de pepe, or substitute pearled barley.