I’m ever so grateful to the previous owners of our house, because they planted a gorgeous crop of vegetables before they left. The weather this year must be on the side of the lazy vegetable gardener because without too much effort, these vegetables have thrived. Happy, fat worms are going about their business in the rich soil while broccoli kicks on from winter and the spring produce starts to poke its head up. With a handful of broccolini from the garden, a bag of frozen peas and an impulse buy of moghrabieh, or giant cous cous, this salad came into being.
It’s the time of year when hearty salads are back on the menu for dinner. There is so much more to salads than limp iceberg with a few rounds of pale cucumber. The simple combination of seasonal vegetables, pantry staples and a bright dressing can make a delicious, flavour packed meal which is cost effective, and can be prepared ahead of time to make evenings easier, and tastier.
The key to this salad is the dressing, inspired by a Yotam Ottolenghi pasta recipe. Combining yoghurt, peas, garlic and oil in a food processor results in a smooth, tangy yet subtle dressing that brings the cous cous and vegetables together. Texture is added with slivered almonds that have been toasted in oil with a dash of chilli, providing crunch and a vague sense of heat. A generous handful of soft herbs (mint, parsley or basil) and feta lifts everything up, making it bright and fresh.
A spoonful of this salad is all at once smooth, tangy and crunchy. It’s a lovely way to eat your greens, and celebrate the salad season.
Broccoli, Pea and Giant Cous Cous Salad with Green Yoghurt Dressing
Serves 4 as a side dish
• 1 small head of broccoli cut into small florets, or 1 bunch of broccolini
• 200g frozen peas, defrosted
• 200ml yoghurt
• 60ml olive oil
• 1 clove garlic
• 200g moghrabieh (giant cous cous)
• 30g slivered almonds
• 1/2 tsp chili flakes
• Handful of mint or parsley
• 30g feta
• salt and pepper
Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil.
Place yoghurt, 50g peas, 40ml olive oil and 1 clove garlic in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Set aside.
Cook broccoli in the boiling water until almost cooked, about 8-10 minutes, then add peas and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove and drain the vegetables with a slotted spoon, and return the water to the boil (don’t worry if some peas stay in the water, they’re tricky to catch). Add moghrabieh to the water, return to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure they don’t form clumps.
Toast slivered almonds in a pan with 20ml of oil and 1/2 tsp chilli flakes. Watch it like a hawk, removing from the heat when the nuts are golden.
Drain the moghrabieh and mix with peas and broccoli. Pour over the dressing and mix through (you may not need all the dressing, depending on how much broccoli you have). Drizzle the chilli oil and nuts over the top along with torn up mint and crumbled feta.
This post was originally published on Kidspot as part of the Voices of 2014 competition.