Friday, September 6, 2013

Pearl Couscous Salad with Pistachio crusted Goat Cheese

I really look forward to Labor Day weekend. Every year the two of us take the whole week off and have several things lined up that we look forward to. Its the end of summer, so we try to pack in as many summer activities as we can. Its US Open week - and we visit the Open every year. I'm a huge tennis fan and I really look forward to it. Its also our anniversary during labor day week, so it just makes sense that we make it a fun week for us! And fun it has been. I can't believe its friday already and the weekend jitters are setting in.

Our regular work week means early morning chaos to get everyone out the door, and juggling a million things during the day between work, home and a two year old, all the while trying to keep some semblance of sanity. I don't want to think about it - block that thought!! block that thought!!!

We did pack in a lot of fun this week and I'm glad it flew past - in a good way. We thoroughly enjoyed the tennis we caught at the open, went into the city, hit the beach, the park, the fro-yo place (everyday!), met with friends, ate out, stayed up late, watched a movie. All that and I still have a couple of days of fun left. A trip to a kiddie fun place and then a polo match (so exciting!) are still on the agenda for the upcoming weekend.

With the week off, I've taken time off from the kitchen too - and I really haven't cooked much. All in all - two meals in the kitchen this week. One of which you are looking at in the picture above. And I ended up making that meal, just so I can make pistachio crusted Goat Cheese. We had that at an Italian restaurant with our friends and I had to try it at home.

This also happens to be a super easy and quick meal - so add it to your list of easy meals for busy nights. You could top the Couscous salad with any of many protein choices, I especially like chickpeas here along with the goat cheese. (I thought of it after the fact!).

- 1 cup Pearl Couscous (also known as Israeli Couscous)
- 1/2 Red Onion chopped
- 1/4 cup almonds - soaked for 30 mins
- 1/4 english (seedless) cucumber chopped
- 1/2 bunch Cilantro
- 5-6 Basil Leaves
- Olive Oil

- 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt/Pepper

- Goat Cheese
- Pistachios - shelled and crushed

- In  a saucepan, add some olive oil and brown the Pearl Couscous. About 1-2 mins.
- In a seperate saucepan, boil 2 cups of water.
 - Add the chopped onions and salt to the couscous and then add boiled water.
- Cover on low-medium and cook for 8 more mins.
- Let sit for 2-3 mins.
- Peel the blanced almonds and chop the basil and cilantro.
- Once couscous is ready, add almonds,basil, cilantro and chopped cucumber.
- Toss together in a bowl all the dressing ingredients and mix it into the couscous.
- Season to taste and prepare the goat cheese when you are ready to serve.
- For the goat cheese, slice a 1 inch thick piece of goat cheese and a drop of olive oil on each side.
- Crust each oiled side with crushed pistachios. When crushing Pistachios, leave them slightly large (dont pound it to crumbs)
- Press the pistachios into the Goat Cheese so they set well.
- Heat a pan and coat it with 1 tbsp olive oil and then add the crusted goat cheese
- Turn up the heat, and let the pistachios turn slightly brown - no more than 45 -60 secs.
- Turn the goat cheese over and brown the other side of pistachios too.
- Add to the salad when you are ready to eat.

The star of this dish is the goat cheese and the couscous salad provides a nice filling, bright background to the dish. So please, make sure you have a good portion of goat cheese on the plate!

Hope you are enjoying the last few days of summer. Around here, the sweaters have already come out and evenings are very chilly. I'm planning my escape to the southern hemisphere!


  1. What a lovely dish! And those pearl couscous are huge! ;-)

    Summer is definitely on the way out now and I had my jumper on yesterday....

  2. First of all Happy Anniversary!! Secondly, this dish is so gorge looking and love goat cheese, so this is a winning combo.
    That is a great list of things you guys have been doing, sounds like fun. The tennis and polo sounds really fun. Enjoy the rest.

    1. thanks Asha! We had a great time at both tennis and polo.

  3. Happy Anniversary! You guys had a fun filled Labor Day weekend, we just rolled around at home! It was quite nice though to do nothing. This salad is beautiful and I really like the pistachio crusted goat cheese, lovely texture and colour. The pearl couscous salad looks pretty good too!


    1. thanks Nazneen. Many of our weekends are quiet too.. we just made the extra effort since so much was going on last week for us.

  4. Happy anniversary! The salad looks delicious and I love that you added pistachios to it for a unique flavor.

  5. Happy anniversary! Your first picture looks something straight out of a magazine!

    1. thanks Tara! and thats a huge compliment - since I almost enjoy the photography more than the food - almost!

  6. I would like to use pearl cous cous now seeing this recipe. Your recipes are always so fresh, clean and healthy. And agreed with Tara, straight out of a magazine!

    1. thanks Amelia - given my eating habits (constantly grazing!) I try to keep the foods light. I hope you do grab some pearl couscous - its a blank canvas.

  7. Happy Anniversary to you! I'm glad you had a nice break.

    Couscous is one of my favorite things to eat...this looks delicious!

  8. Happy Anniversary!! And what a lovely salad with so much deliciousness and wonderful textures :)