With 2 full-time working parents and 6 kids in the house ranging from a picky 7 year old to a 17 year old vegan, dinnertime can get very challenging if we don't prepare meals ahead of time. This salad is easily modified for the vegan in your life by omitting the feta but the remaining 7 people in our house enjoy the salty feta offset by the refreshing mint. The sweetness of the apples and cranberries explodes in your mouth while the couscous is infused with notes of orange and licorice from the star anise to add a little middle eastern flaire to the dish. —lisa ann
fresh orange juice
fresh lemon juice (from approximately 2 med lemons)
medium butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/4 inch-dice
large red onion, chopped
maftoul pearl couscous (Isreali couscous)
1 1/2 cups
dried bay leaf
chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
toasted pine nuts
Granny Smith apple, diced (approximately 1 1/2 c)
Toss squash with 2T olive oil and salt to taste in large baking pan and spread in single layer. Roast in oven for 15 minutes until squash is just tender and transfer to a separate bowl.
Cook onion in 1T olive oil in skillet over medium heat stirring occasionally until golden brown and add to bowl with squash.
Add star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks and vegetable broth to a pot and bring to a boil. Add couscous and reduce heat to a simmer then cook for approximately 12 minutes until just tender. Remove star anise, bay leaf and cinnamon sticks, then add couscous to squash and onions in bowl.
Add orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, pine nuts, cranberries, apples, mint and feta to bowl with squash and onions. Toss and serve at room temperature.