This Israeli couscous salad with beetroot has sublime flavor combinations. Sweet, salty and earthy, it's a beautiful side dish to serve as part of a holiday spread or a Sunday brunch. Or, enjoy it as I do - as a satisfying lunch main!
Beetroot is one of the most underrated vegetables. It's a shame that the deep, sweet, earthy flavor of roasted beetroots isn't appreciated more, because something magical happens when beets are roasted. Their flavor transforms from tart to muted and sweet. And, nothing compliments their densely earthy flavor more than tangy balsamic vinegar. This is truly a culinary pairing made in made in heaven!
In this recipe we're going to pair balsamic roasted beetroot with salty vegan feta and nutty Israeli couscous. It's a simple recipe that's full of opposing flavors that are perfectly balanced.
Ingredients in Israeli Couscous Salad With Beetroot and Vegan Feta:
- Beetroot: When washed and cooked properly, beets have an earthy, sweet flavor that sets off tangy tastes beautifully. They are also unashamedly purple, which is a treat for the eyes in recipes like this.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar caramelizes the beets, bringing out their sweet flavor.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is optional in this recipe but it does complement the other flavors.
- Israeli Couscous: What's the difference between regular couscous and Israeli couscous? Israeli couscous- also known as ptitim, pearl couscous and giant couscous- is actually a machine made pasta. Both are made from semolina and water, but the shape and size of Israeli couscous is bigger and more uniform than true couscous. The texture is chewy, making it a wonderful base for this Israeli couscous salad.
- Vegan Greek Style Cheese: Vegan Greek Style Cheese is very similar to feta, less the dairy products. I like this brand.
- Salt and Pepper: Salt is a natural flavor enhancer, and pepper gives that added bite that elevates this Israeli couscous salad.
How To Make Israeli Couscous Salad With Beetroot:
Heat your oven to 200 C (400 F), and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Top and tail the beets, reserving the leaves (if you have them) for a salad. Wash the beets well before cutting them into 1 inch pieces (no need to peel),and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender, turning everything over at the halfway mark.
Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed fry pan and toast the couscous for 2-3 minutes, moving everything around with a spatula to ensure it doesn't burn. Now, bring 335 ml of water to a boil (1 ¼ cups), pour it over the couscous and simmer gently with the lid on for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat when the couscous is done cooking and fluff gently with a fork. Set aside to cool.
In a cup, stir together the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. When the beets have roasted for 30 minutes, drizzle it over them and return them to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
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Israeli Couscous salad with Balsami Beetroot and Feta
- 400 gram medium sized beets (about 3 medium sized beets)
- 1½ tablespoon olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup israeli couscous
- 75 grams (½ cup) vegan feta chopped into bite size pieces
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- a few grinds black pepper
- Heat the oven to 200 C (400 F) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Top and tail the beetroot, wash them well and chop into 1 inch pieces. Transfer them to the baking sheet and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the Israeli couscous for 2-3 minutes. Add 335 milliliters of boiling water (1 ¼ cups) to the pan, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar with the maple syrup in a small cup. Drizzle it over the beetroot once they have roasted for 30 minutes. Return the pan to the oven and roast for a further 5 minutes.
- Combine the Israeli couscous, balsamic roasted beetroots and chopped vegan feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with (optional) herbs.