With December in full swing, we’ve reached that time of the year where my schedule is packed to the brim. Between work, holiday get-togethers and trying to figure out gifts for all my family members, I am running around like a mad woman. Which means that simple, easy meals like this Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Israeli Couscous Salad are about all I can manage to get on the table come dinnertime.
And what’s even better? This dish can serve double duty. A healthy, interesting meal for your family or a great make-ahead dish for a gathering. Heck, you could even double the recipe and kill two birds with one stone. I’m all about anything that can save me time during the holidays.
Israeli (or pearl) couscous, which has a slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture, makes up the base for this salad. It comes in several different variations - like whole wheat, regular or even tri-colored - and any will work well here. One tip for cooking the couscous - keep on eye on it while it is simmering and give it a stir every now and then to prevent the mixture from foaming up and spilling onto your stove!
Roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato are added to the dish, along with some sweet dried cranberries, savory green onions and crunchy sliced almonds. You can play with the amount of add-ins to your taste - try adding additional cranberries for more sweetness or even using a different type of nut.
The whole dish is tied together with a simple maple syrup and apple cider vinaigrette. Be sure to pour the dressing onto the salad while it's still warm, as this helps the mixture really absorb all that flavor.
For the salad:
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved (quartered if large)
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups Israeli pearl couscous
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup sliced raw almonds
For the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Place the Brussels sprouts and sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the veggies are tender and starting to brown. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add in the couscous, then let the mixture come back to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the couscous has absorbed the water. Remove from the heat and add to a large bowl.
- To the large bowl, add the roasted veggies, the green onions, cranberries and almonds. Toss to combine.
For the dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Pour into the bowl with the couscous and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.