This is a vibrant and flavoursome salad great for any time of the year, but a particularly good one for Christmas! It can be made a day or two in advance – keep the dressing separate until just before you’re ready to serve.
1 garlic clove
3 spring onions, sliced
20g extra virgin olive oil
250g pearl couscous
1 tsp vegetable stock paste concentrate
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed, sliced into 1cm lengths
40g pistachio nuts
100g red capsicum, diced into small pieces
3/4 cup basil leaves, torn
30g baby capers
40g extra virgin olive oil
40g apple cider vinegar
10g wholegrain mustard
10g raw honey
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1. Place garlic into mixing bowl, chop for 3 seconds/speed7/MC on. Add spring onion and oil and saute for 4 minutes/steaming temperature/speed soft/MC on.
2. Meanwhile, measure the couscous into steaming basket and place the stock paste on top of it.
3. When onion/garlic finishes cooking, pour it out onto the couscous then place the steaming basket into the bowl, along with 1L water. Cook for 10 minutes/steaming temperature/speed 4/MC on.
4. While the couscous is cooking, place the pistachios and pepitas into a dry frying pan and heat, shaking the pan intermittently so the nuts and seeds don’t burn. When the pepitas start to pop, turn the heat off and leave to cool down.
5. Add asparagus in on top of the couscous and cook for a further 2 minutes/steaming temperature/speed 4/MC on, then remove basket from mixer bowl and pour contents into a large serving bowl. Run a fork through it if needed. Discard water.
6. Place dressing ingredients into mixer bowl and blitz for 30 seconds/speed 7/MC on.
7. When couscous has cooled to room temperature, add to it the capsicum, basil and capers, along with 3/4 of the toasted nuts and seeds. Combine well with a large spoon.
8. Pour dressing over the salad and combine well, then top with remaining nuts and seeds to garnish.
Pearl couscous is a type of pasta, very different in texture to regular couscous. It can be found in most supermarkets in the pasta section, usually on the bottom shelf. It is also known as Israeli couscous. Check your packet for cooking time and if required, adjust cooking time in the recipe accordingly. Quinoa is a nice alternative – rinse thoroughly before use and increase the 10 minutes cooking time to 16 minutes before adding the asparagus.