Dinner, Faster

True Life: I Fell in Love with Couscous Salad

October 19, 2015

A catered lunch is often a pretty bleak affair, with soggy sandwich towers and hockey puck cookies.

So when I notice the table in the corner of my office is set with disposable tin trays and plastic serving spoons, I’m decidedly more skeptical than excited. 

Shop the Story

Sure, a free meal is a free meal, and I have no business snubbing one of those, but I have been known to subsist on trail mix from the office cabinet instead of a third-party-supplied lunch when the latter looks particularly sad. 

CUT to a few weeks ago, when I commandeered a bowl of catered carrot chickpea salad so completely at my place of employment that our office manager asked if I wanted to bring the (very negligible, because I’d eaten all of it) leftovers home with me.

Where lunch was delivered from that day — and what else was even offered—are facts that remain a mystery to me, despite my fervent research. All I know for certain is that after creeping over to the spread of tin-foil-covered serving bowls and tentatively pulling a back a corner, expecting the mystery meat worst, I was met instead with a bright, beautiful side of shredded carrot, chickpeas, couscous, and feta. Simple but surprising at the same time, the salad won me hard; I’m not 100% certain that I refused to share, but if someone told me that was true, I’d believe them.

The recipe that follows is my best attempt at recreating that salad, borne from a place of acceptance that I will likely never have the real thing again. My only hope is that on some lunch-catered day in the future, The Powers That Be will repeat a previous order. Now I sprint to the lunch table every time, just to check. 

Carrot Chickpea Couscous Salad

Serves 4 as a side

1/2 cup dry Israeli couscous
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup shredded carrots
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
A few serious turns of fresh ground pepper 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.