Summer Couscous with Oranges and Olives

Have you ever tasted something new at a party, fell tastebuds over heels, and spent the rest of the evening casually-on-purpose circling back to it and hoping the entire time that no one notices the shameful amount you've consumed? This is what happened when I met Castelvetrano olives. I was and still am fascinated by the strikingly bright green color and unexpected sweet, buttery flavor. How have I lived so long without them in my life?

Last weekend I bought some of my very own. As I delightfully nibbled my cache, I wondered if these could possibly get any better and what kind of recipes might be floating out in cyberspace. A couscous recipe piqued my interest. Olives and oranges living together? Mass hysteria! But something about it spoke to me.

This recipe was an instant hit with my book club yesterday, and it's posted today by popular demand. It is healthy and super easy to prepare - a one-bowl wonder with no cooking or baking whatsoever. I'll be sure to circle back to this one many times.

Summer Couscous with Oranges and Olives
Modified a bit from

3 cups dry couscous
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
orange zest from one orange
lemon zest from one lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups boiling water (microwaved for several minutes works)
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped  (~ 1 cup)
3-5 shallots, chopped (~ 1 cup)
~ 35 Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
3 navel oranges, halved and sectioned
juice from 1/2 lemon

Whisk orange juice concentrate, olive oil, mustard, orange and lemon zests, and salt in a large bowl. Add couscous and combine thoroughly.  Continue stirring while slowly adding boiling water.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for five minutes.

Fluff the cousous with a fork, then add parsley, olives, orange segments (and any juice from the fresh oranges), shallots, and lemon juice.

Refrigerate or let stand at room temperature for two hours to let flavors mellow before serving. My taste preference is to serve at room temp; however, today's refrigerated leftovers were pretty good, too.

Serves 10. Nutrition info/serving:  298 calories, 51 g carbs, 7 g fat, 8 g protein, 419 mg sodium, 10 g sugar.



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