Israeli Couscous with Lemon Za'atar Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots

By • March 24, 2014 • 0 Comments

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Author Notes: If you're unfamiliar with za'atar I am envious. Not because of the huge za'atar-less gap in your life up until this moment, but because discovering za'atar for the first time... it's like falling in love and falling HARD. One could even say that za'atar, with all of its mercurial regional, cultural and personal definitions, was very much like love itself, or the nature of it at least. Once could, if one were in the business of waxing poetic on the characteristics of spice blends.
One could...
But let's get down to the very serious business of making and eating food, shall we?
This recipe really lets the za'atar sing. It is both roasted with the chickpeas and carrots and included in the final dressing. The crunchiness of the roasted veggies plays perfectly against the chewiness of the israeli couscous and little hints of citrus tie everything together.
Slow Club Cookery

Serves 4-6

Za'atar Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Za'atar spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Everything Else

  • 1 cup dry Israeli couscous
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1-2 teaspoon extra za'atar spice for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine carrots and chickpeas in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour half of the dressing over carrots and chickpeas and toss to combine.
  3. Spread dressed carrots and chickpeas onto a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking pan about halfway through. Taste for doneness. Carrots should be tender and lightly browned and chickpeas will have a slightly crunchy exterior while still soft on the inside.
  5. While carrots and chickpeas are roasting, heat 2tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  6. Add dry Israeli couscous and, stirring frequently, cook until pasta has reached a toasted golden brown color, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Add 1 1/4c water, allow pasta to reach a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  8. Turn cooked couscous into a medium serving bowl. Pour remainder of the dressing over top and toss to combine.
  9. Add roughly one third of the roasted carrots and chickpeas, stirring them into the couscous mix. Add the remainder of roasted carrots and chickpeas right before serving, this will keep them crispy.
  10. Garnish with spring onions and extra za'atar.
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