Zucchini, Garbonzo Bean, and Couscous Salad

Chickpea salad

While “rut” can mean an annually recurrent state of sexual excitement in the male deer (thanks, Merriam-Webster, I had no idea), it is more commonly defined as a usual or fixed practice.

I’ve definitely been in a bit of a rut (as in a usual, predictable practice) with the lunches I make for my workweek. Most Sundays I’ll cook up a grain of some kind, add some roasted vegetables, and occasionally some ricotta salata, feta cheese, or crumbled goat cheese. And I’ll eat this concoction for a few days for lunch. Some may think being in a cooking rut is a bad thing, but I don’t see it that way when I am eating so much delicious, easy to prepare food.

The sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to these dishes. I tend to use whatever vegetable is in season and bulgur, faro, brown rice, or couscous. Some coworkers have commented that my lunches look similar, but they all taste unique as I always switch up the ingredients.

One of the better salads I’ve made recently has followed this rather predictable basis (roasted veggies and a grain), but extra spice has enhanced the flavor and the addition of chickpeas has added protein for a bit more substance. 

Zucchini, Garbonzo Bean, and Couscous Salad

Adapted from Bon Appetit; serves 4-6

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup pearled couscous
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice zucchini crosswise into ½ inch pieces. Place on sheet pan, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, tossing half way through cooking. You’ll want the zucchini to be slightly browned and tender but not mushy.

Combine garbanzo beans, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside and let marinate while roasting zucchini.

Cook couscous according to package instructions with one exception: add cumin, paprika and turmeric to cooking liquid.

Add couscous and zucchini (along with all the roasting juices from the zucchini) to the large bowl with chickpeas. Toss with remaining olive oil and let cool slightly. Add in green onions and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

 

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