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Pearl Couscous With Tomatoes and Feta

Nicole Spiridakis, writer and photographer of the blog Cucina Nicolina, chronicles recipes she loves, her travels and her day-to-day life—largely through the lens of food. While she is a vegetarian, her recipes never seem lacking in anything; instead, they’re always brimming with an abundance of seasonal fruits, produce and whole grains. This recipe, in particular, is perfect for the summer—serve it as a side dish during picnics or barbecues, or as a light lunch for those busy weekdays when sandwiches just won’t do. Depending on where you live, you’re probably starting to see tomatoes crop up at your farmers market, and Nicole suggests making this recipe when cherry tomatoes are in season. For vegans, simply omit the feta and add chickpeas for protein. This couscous reminds Nicole of her travels to Greece, while it reminds us of the beginning of summer. We couldn’t be more ready.

Ingredients

Roasted Tomatoes and Dressing

2 pints red grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)

3 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 3/4 cups vegetable broth

2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Optional

1 cup crumbled feta

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Directions

1. To roast tomatoes and make dressing, start by preheating the oven to 250 degrees.

2. Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour.

3. Cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes.

4. Peel garlic and purée with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.

5. To make couscous, bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

6. Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and let cool for 15 minutes.

7. Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing, roasted tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6

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