Spring Asparagus Salad

Spring Asparagus Salad

This tasty and visually appealing salad uses Palestinian couscous, which is made from flour, similar to regular couscous, but is more like small pearls in size. Make with orzo pasta for an alternative, or quinoa or wild rice for a gluten-free salad option. You can prepare the ingredients the day before and toss just before serving. It tastes just as good the day after too. 

By Sarah Heeringa. Photography by Amanda Reelick

2 bunches fresh asparagus, or 1 of asparagus and one of green beans, lightly steamed
2 cups (400g) Fair trade Couscous (uncooked)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted 
200g feta, cubed
75g toasted pine nuts, dry roasted in a pan
handful fresh mint leaves, torn
zest of a lemon, divided into two portions
oil for drizzling, we used Chantal Organics extra virgin olive oil

Dressing
1/3 cup olive or hemp seed oil, we used a mix of Chantal Organics extra virgin olive oil and New Hemisphere Hemp Seed Oil
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

Put all the dressing ingredients in a clean, lidded jar. Seal and shake well. This dressing will keep for several weeks in the fridge.   

Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Trim off the tough ends of the asparagus. You can do this with a sharp knife or by holding a spear in your hand and breaking off the bottom with your fingers wherever it breaks naturally. 

Cut the asparagus spears into thirds. Lay them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper and half of the lemon zest. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the spears are just tender. 

Put the couscous in a medium-sized lidded pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then  turn off heat, cover with a lid and leave for 10 minutes to absorb any remaining liquid. Tip the couscous into a large bowl and fluff with a fork. 

Add the asparagus, olives and feta and mix lightly. Drizzle with the dressing to taste. Scatter with mint, remaining lemon zest and pine nuts. 

Serve warm or chilled. Serves 6.

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