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Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by my daughter, who has taught me to embrace new cultures and the foods that represent the passion and joy of international communities. It evokes memories of a trip we took together to the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, seeing the abundance of beautiful, fresh ingredients waiting to be served on welcoming tables. —Donna Collins
- 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
- 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
- 1/2 cup Spanish onion, minced
- 1 carrot, grated
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
- 4 cups baby arugula
- coarse sea salt to taste
- Pour 1/4 cup hot water over dates, and let steep until ready to use.
- Combine 2 1/2 cups water, couscous, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and boil until most of the water has evaporated, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.
- While couscous is cooking, sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add carrot and fresh ginger, and sauté for 2 more minutes or until very fragrant.
- Stir onion mixture into couscous. Add dates and pecans. Add cinnamon, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt to taste.
- Toss arugula with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a pinch of coarse sea salt.
- On each of 4 plates, place 1 cup of dressed arugula. Top with couscous mixture. I like this best when the couscous is still warm, but the couscous can be made ahead, refrigerated, and served cold as well.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Dates