Simply eating a handful of nuts is going to get old sooner or later no matter how healthy you might want to be. So, having other ways to sneak a handful of nuts into your eating and fueling habits is key.
Side dishes are the perfect answer for you nut dilemma. Use bulgur wheat or couscous for this Mediterranean-inspired 'salad' packed with dried fruits, creamy feta, nuts, and, when in season, pomegranate arils. One of my favorite dishes for sure.
Walnuts have the highest alpha-lenolenic acid (ALA) and polyunsaturated fat content amongst nuts; thus, making it a great source for healthy plant-based fats and omega-3-fatty acids. However, they can also taste bitter at times..and then, nuts are omitted...don't do that!.
As an alternative, I will occasionally substitute cashews or pistachios which have a smoother, buttery and richer flavor profile along with a lower total fat content; but, unfortunately, have a significantly lower concentration of polyunsaturated fats. Just choose one!
Couscous with Dried Fruit & Nuts
- 1 cup couscous
- 3-4 cups vegetable broth, hot
- 1 cup of toasted walnuts, pistachios, almonds or cashews
- 2 oz block feta, crumbled or cubed
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup dried dates, diced
- 1/2 cup green scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbls fresh mint
- 1 medium apple, finely diced
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2-3 Tbls olive oil
- 1-2 Tbls honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a glass bowl, cover couscous with vegetable broth to 1/4" above the grains.
- Let stand x 20 min.
- Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey and salt. Adjust for sweet and salt to taste.
- Finely dice the apple and marinate in the lemon-honey vinaigrette.
- Fluff couscous and add nuts, pomegranates, dried fruits, scallions, and feta.
- Separate the apples from the vinaigrette and add them to the couscous.
- Taste the salad at this point.
- I actually add very little of the vinaigrette because it is already so flavorful, but you decide how moist you want the salad to be.
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