Couscous salad with dates, nuts, and apricots is a slight twist on a typical Turkish dish from the region of Anatolia(a large region of Turkey). It is an awesome side dish to take to a picnic, or dinner party. The traditional dish uses bulgur wheat, but I felt compelled to improvise when I opened my cupboard and gasp, no bulgur, but plenty of couscous!
Although not 100% authentic, it does retain the cultural heritage of the dish.
A sweet savory combo that goes well with just about anything. Dates give this couscous salad an interesting taste. Dates lend a sweet note to savory and sweet dishes alike in North African, Turkish, and Middle Eastern countries. I love dates, they are so good for you and taste good too. Last year one of our Fulbright students from Morocco shared an interesting aspect of her culture with me: “In Morocco, it is customary to offer a guest dates and tea upon arrival.” This custom has its origins in the country’s nomadic past.
Dates were the first exotic fruit to be known in Europe.
In antiquity Aristotle called them daktylos, from the Greek word for fingers. In Roman times they were sold in theaters in gilded paper. Dates are indeed an ancient fruit, and an integral part in the cultural development of nomadic cultures. Why? Well, dates travel very well; thus providing much needed energy in long treks. Dates were sacred to the Sumerians and the Babylonians, and also revered by the Egyptians. They were also utilized to make an alcoholic beverage called shekar.
In this couscous salad with dates, nuts and apricots, sweet and savory flavors mix together beautifully as well as texture. Crunchy nuts, and grainy couscous contrast nicely with sweet soft dates and apricots. The creamy yogurt that is served with the dish pairs well with the overall dry nature of the other ingredients and lends the dish a slight tangy touch. It’s a great contrast.
Serve this dish alongside grilled chicken, lamb kebabs or the protein of your choice. Enjoy! BTW, don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family.
Couscous Salad with Dates, Nuts and Apricots
Turkish style salad with couscous dates, nuts, and apricots is a slight twist on a typical Turkish dish from the region of Anatolia. Crunchy nuts, and grainy couscous contrast nicely with sweet soft dates and apricots. The creamy yogurt that is served with the dish pairs well with the overall dry nature of the other ingredients and lends the dish a slight tangy touch.
Place dry couscous in a bowl.
In a small saucepan or in the microwave boil water with 2 tsp. of olive oil and salt. Pour over the couscous. Stir a couple of times. Allow to sit until the liquid has been absorbed.
In a skillet on medium heat the rest of the oil. Add in the nuts, and the carrot.
Stir until the carrot begins to soften.
Remove from heat and pour over the couscous. Stir in the dates, apricots and fresh cilantro, and mix well.
Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt.
This dish can be served warm or cold depending on your preference.