Turn Couscous Into Scrumptious Little Cakes

Couscous makes a delicious alternative to rice when you're having chicken or steak for your main course. But mix it up with some eggs and chickpeas, and you have a yummy little cake that's perfect for topping salads.

When I have couscous, it's usually as a side dish because it's a nice alternative to rice. The grain is super easy to make and goes perfectly with shellfish, chicken and even steak. If you're looking for something a little more filling, however, simply adding a variety of vegetables and some cheese. Suddenly the grain turns into an awesome main course. But the one thing I'd never considered doing with couscous is mixing it with eggs and salt and frying it up into little patties. But then Fine Cooking suggested it and a new dinner was born. The couscous patties are delicious, a nice alternative to falafel and the perfect protein to add to a salad (or pita) when you're not in the mood for chicken, steak or shrimp.

Spinach salad with couscous cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 or 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, a quarter cup of olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the couscous according to the package directions.
  3. Place the garlic, parsley, chickpeas, remaining olive oil and one-half teaspoon of salt into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well combined.
  4. When the couscous is ready, fluff with a fork. Whisk the chickpea mixture, eggs and lemon zest into the couscous until well combined. Press the couscous mixture into a one-quarter-cup measuring cup and invert the cup to release the couscous cake onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture until 10 cakes are made.
  5. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the couscous cakes and cook, flipping once, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about four minutes. Transfer the cakes to a towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining couscous cakes.
  6. Toss the spinach, artichoke hearts and tomatoes with half the dressing in a large bowl. Portion the salad onto four plates. Top each plate with two or three couscous cakes, sprinkle with feta and drizzle the remaining dressing on top. Serve immediately.

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