Israeli Couscous with Eggplant and a Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

I’ve been to San Francisco and Lewisburg, WV this week.  San Francisco was for the American Thoracic Society Conference, where my scientific poster was well received.  Lewisburg (dubbed the “coolest small town” by Budget Travel) was for my best friend’s medical school graduation.   I saw the Golden Gate Bridge and rode the cable cars in San Fran, and wandered through Fisherman’s Wharf.  I picked up a few magnets as souvenirs and read a book and half while waiting in line at the airport and cable cars.  In WV, I saw picturesque mountains and my friend’s photography exhibit.  More importantly, I watched a dear friend become a doctor, so now when I call for friendly medical advice she doesn’t have to say, “Hold on, let me get my book.  We haven’t gotten to that chapter yet.”

Now after a week of being stuck in small metal tubes (cars and planes) for hours, sleeping in less-than-ideal hotel beds, and eating out for all meals (mostly Asian in San Fran and mostly fried or cheesy in WV), I am ready to be home and cook in my own kitchen.  I made this dish before I left, but it is something I can’t wait to make again.  It is simple yet flavorful, and  I always wish I had more for my lunch the next day.  Also it’s completely different than anything I’ve had in the past week, meaning healthy, fresh and made by me.

Israeli Couscous with Eggplant and a Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

Adapted from Love and Olive Oil
1 large eggplant or 2 small eggplants or 6 Indian eggplants (pictured), diced into ½-inch cubes
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup Israeli couscous
1/3 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3-4 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
½ cup raisins (golden or regular)
¼ cup chopped parsley (or cilantro)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Add eggplant and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper.  Roast in oven for about 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown.

Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions.  Drain excess water, rinse and cool.

Toast walnuts over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool then roughly chop.

In large bowl whisk together the cumin, cinnamon, white wine vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt.  While whisking, slowly drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the green onions, raisins, parsley, toasted walnuts, couscous and eggplant cubes to the large bowl with the dressing.  Toss everything together to coat.  Serve at room temperature.


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