Just when I thought I was finished with Acorn Squash recipe research, the CSA email came announcing I'd get two in my share. Again, I browsed a few of my favorite recipe banks and found this salad. As I said in a previous post, I love grain based salads with veggies, herbs, dried fruit, nuts, you name it! So When I found this salad, it looked like it would be great.
The ingredient list is a bit lengthy for a simple salad, but many of the ingredients are herbs and spices that you'll likely have on hand. I used basil rather than mint because I have it growing in my garden, but other than that I made no substitutions. (I did forget to add the almonds for the photo, but added them just before we ate this, oops!). The cous cous was a bit sticky, and I didn't want to add a ton of olive oil, so I added a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, and it worked really well, adding just enough extra flavor and moisture without compromising the original recipe's flavors. If you can't find Israeli cous cous, or don't want a white pasta, you can easily sub in wheat berries, barley, quinoa, millet, or regular wheat cous cous.
Israeli Cous Cous with Acorn Squash, Feta and Almonds
slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma
3/4 c. slivered almonds
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 acorn squash (about 2.5 lbs)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. Israeli cous cous
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. basil leaves, torn
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350*
Place almonds on a baking sheet, toast until fragrant and browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine sage, 1 tsp. salt, cinnamon, chili powder and pepper, stir well.
Peel squash, cut into 1/2" cubes.
Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, add to a baking sheet and toss with seasoning mixture.
Roast for an hour, until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife.
Bring large pot of water to a boil, add cous cous and cook for 5 minutes, until softened, drain in a mesh colander and rinse with cool water.
Transfer the cous cous to a platter, fluff, add squash, almonds, feta and basil (or mint), drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve warmed to room temperature.