Bright, fluffy couscous and warm-colored veg combine to make one seriously sunny salad. The dates--stuffed with Brazil nuts lightly glazed with cranberry and orange--are optional, but a really nice touch if you have time to prepare them. If you don't, in order to maintain the caloric heft, try quickly chopping a handful of nuts and dates and stir them directly into the salad with the vegetables.
Citrus Couscous Salad with Stuffed Dates
For the stuffed dates:
20 Brazil nuts
generous pinch salt
1/4 tsp oil
juice of half an orange (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
20 dates, sliced cleanly open and pitted
For the salad:
juice of half an orange, plus enough water to yield 2 1/4 cups
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 bunch cilantro (about 1/2 loose cup), chopped
1 large red pepper (about 7 oz total weight)
4 medium-large carrots (8 oz total weight)
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime
To prepare the dates: Preheat the broiler. Toss together the Brazil nuts, pinch salt, and 1/4 tsp oil. Monitoring closely, broil until just beginning to darken, 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the orange and cranberry juices along with the sugar in a small sauce pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened. Add the toasted nuts to the cranberry syrup, coat well, and stuff one nut into each date. Set aside.
To prepare the salad: Combine the orange juice and water, coriander, salt, and turmeric in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, stir in the couscous and cilantro, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
While the couscous sits, cut the pepper into matchsticks 1 1/2-2" in length and shred the carrots with a peeler, or cut them into matchsticks with a sharp knife.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the vegetables. Whisk together the oil and lime juice, stir into the salad thoroughly, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with the stuffed dates.