Crunchy and mild spicy couscous salad with mustard seeds

I’m not good at throwing food away. I always have looooots of little pots and cups in my fridge with small amounts of food and halved veggies in my drawer. Next to that cabbage of lettuce that seems to live forever there. With all the condiments that surround them, I invent new dishes. That’s also how this recipe for a crunchy and mild spicy couscous salad with mustard seeds came into existence.


I mean …

… those 4 olives left in their jar? They will spice up my pasta, in particular a vegetarian one.

… that little bit of couscous I cooked but couldn’t eat? It’s a great start for a lunch salad the next day. Like this recipe below!

… those halved or quartered veggies that I couldn’t use? Cucumber: I dice into small cubes with a tomato for a quick side. Lettuce leaves: they’re the base of every lunch salad. That lonely carrot: great when diced finely and cooked with onions as a base for an Italian dish. A little left-over leek: I add it finely sliced and sometimes just raw to a rice stir fry.

… a lot of different veggies? What about fast minestrone soup?

… that rice or noodle left-overs from a Chinese take-way? I keep it and make ik the base for my own Asian style dish the next day. Simply by stir frying some veggies with soy sauce and hot peppers. Maybe with some chicken or a poached egg (here’s my foolproof how-to!).

… some left-over boiled pasta? The filling for a frittata. My favorite dish for any left-overs!

What do you with left-overs? Or do you have left-overs that you don’t know what to do with? Tell me below and maybe I have a nice suggestion!

This lunch salad started with a little bit of left-over Isreali couscous. Ever since my first bite, somewhere earlier this year, I never ate the smaller, plain one again. The bigger balls, also called ptitim, are smoother and softer. If you want ’em a bit more chewy, just boil them not the prescribed (4, usually) minutes, but a bit shorter.

Now, let’s think about what I can make with the rest of the jicama!

JICAMA illustration by edie eats-Edith Dourleijn

Crunchy and mild spicy couscous salad with mustard seeds [vegetarian | vegan]

The jicama, cucumber and bell pepper provide the crunchiness in this salad. But are a bit bland in their taste. That’s why I added roasted mustard seeds. If you never used them, just try it. The smell when roasting is amazing, and I really liked the crunch and spiciness that the seeds added to this salad with Israeli couscous.

You need (for a lunch for 1):
pinch of yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup Israeli couscous
1/3 cup vegetable stock
100 gr | 1/2 small jicama (or kohlrabi) – 1 cup diced
100 gr | 1/3 Persian cucumber – 1 cup diced
50 gr | 1/4 red bell pepper – 1/2 cup diced
1/2 soft avocado
4-8 olives
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

You do:
Roast the mustard seeds. Get a small pot and heat it with the seeds over medium fire. Take off the moment the mustard seeds start to dance and plop in your pan. Remove from the heat.

Boil couscous in the stock for 4 minutes (or as long as the package describes).

Clean and dice all veggies. Nice, small cubes please. You’ll end up with approx. 1 cup diced jicama, 1 cup cucumber and 1/2 cup bell pepper. A little bit more or less isn’t a problem.

Mix all ingredients and enjoy!

Tip: This salad is great as a lunch for 1. Or as a side at your next BBQ. Or double the ingredients and eat it with roasted chicken, some lamb skewers or a simple steak.


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