Are you still hoarding clementines (a.k.a. Christmas oranges) like it’s your job? I haven’t stopped since the holidays – can’t resist those little guys! They’re the perfect snack and one that I look forward to stuffing my face with every winter, long after those gifts have been unwrapped.
Citrus fruits are in season in the wintertime, which gives us Canadians a little dose of sunshine on these short, frosty January days. (Seriously, have you seen the snow out there today? Southern Ontario peeps will know what I’m talking about.)
Clementines are easy to peel and eat as is, of course, but they are also a nice addition to savoury dishes. You might not automatically pair sweet oranges with briny olives–let alone onion–in your mind, but trust me that the combination is oh so right.
Clementines (and other oranges) can be used to make bright, fruity dressings to liven up just about any salad. Bitter greens like endive or radicchio practically beg for the hit of sweetness and acidity. Or you can throw a few orange segments into a spinach salad for a change.
A lot of Middle Eastern dishes use oranges, along with dried fruits, nuts and herbs, in salads, mains, sides and more. That was my inspiration for this couscous pilaf. It’s a mixed bag of colours, flavours and textures that looks as good as it tastes. (Speaking of looks, don’t mind the rustic presentation here – I was trying to simultaneously read study notes, shop for an area rug online and shoot food photos. A bad combination for multi-tasking!).
If you’re not a fan of olives, simply leave them out, but I think you’ll like the briny hit of flavour they provide. You can toast the almonds beforehand for a nuttier flavour. You can also use slivered almonds rather than whole, roughly chopped ones like I used here. What can I say – I’m a big fan of using up what’s already in my cupboard!
This dish was totally meant for weeknights because it’s SUPER easy and quick. Serve this cousous pilaf as a side dish with roasted chicken, or spoon over greens and top with your protein of choice for a convenient bowl of goodness.
So glad I’ve been stocking up on clementines, otherwise I would’ve have given this recipe a try!
What’s the best thing you’ve cooked (or eaten) in January so far?
- 1 cup whole grain couscous
- 4 clementine oranges, peeled and segmented or sliced crosswise
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup green olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds or slivered almonds
- 1 sprig fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Prepare couscous according to package directions; fluff with a fork and keep warm.
- In a medium serving bowl, combine the clementines, onion, olives, almonds, mint and cooked couscous, tossing gently to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Pour the dressing over the pilaf a little at a time, adjusting the amount to your liking. Season with salt and pepper and toss again to combine. Garnish with extra almonds and mint, if desired.