The inspiration for this salad comes from Udi’s Foods, a local bakery/caterer. Udi’s bakes some of the most wonderful breads in Denver. My favorite is their cranberry walnut. They also make delicious sides to go with their sandwiches and salads. Their sides include: Saffron Israeli Couscous salad, Cranberry Quinoa, Taboulleh, Crab Artichoke Pasta and other various pasta and potato salads. My favorite side is the Saffron Israeli Couscous.
Although it is my favorite, I can’t seem to remember the last time I actually had this salad. I haven’t attended any meetings where they served Udi’s and the Udi’s Bread Café in Stapleton doesn’t include the salad on their menu.
I had some Israeli couscous in the pantry and I wanted to try making the salad but I couldn’t recall the ingredients. I decided to just toss a few things together and it ended up tasting pretty darn good.
Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta that is pretty pale in color. I infused the water with saffron threads. The saffron turns the couscous a beautiful yellow color.
Saffron Israeli Couscous Salad:
1 ¼ cup water
pinch of saffron threads
1-8.8 ounce bag Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons light tasting olive oil
¼ cup onions, diced
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup yellow bell pepper (or any color)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add saffron and the couscous. Return to a boil, lower heat and cover. Stir occasionally. Cook about 8 minutes. Turn off heat and allow couscous to absorb the water before fluffing.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat light olive oil. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until tender.
3. Fluff couscous and transfer to a larger bowl. Add sautéed onions and mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together and refrigerate several hours before serving.