Couscous, White Bean, and Spinach Salad

Last night, I went out for my birthday dinner. 4 days before my actual birthday. You do this, too, right?

Since my birthday is on Sunday, most of our favorite places won’t be open. Also…I didn’t feel like cooking anything last night after a full day of craz-ay work, baking bread on my lunch break, and tending to a needy dog for 8 hours.

So, out it was.

We went to our favorite neighborhood – okay, only neighborhood, but still incredible – place, The Bank.

By now, I guess we’re regulars? We know the manager, the owner, the chef, the staff. If I didn’t change up my drink order every time we went, they would probably be able to just bring me “my usual”….maybe I should just stick to my bufala negra. Hmmm. I know at least one other person that knows how good they are. It’s like, alcoholic adult soda. Does that make any sense? Make one and you’ll know what I mean.

Last night, we tried their new peach and avocado arugula salad and we both ordered the steelhead trout with BACON mashed potatoes, braised red cabbage, and dijon sauce. Whooooh man. I’ve gotten that trout the last 3 times we’ve been and I. just. can’t. stop. If he takes that off the menu…I don’t know what I’ll do.

Then we got dessert. 2 new options: a white chocolate and strawberry mousse shortcake thing with crispy BASIL (that Nick ate, by the way – and then told me how good it was…) AND a frozen ginger mousse with candied bacon, sweet grits, sauteed peaches, and a bourbon cream sauce.

Roll me right outta there.

That bacon candy and ginger mousse? Nick and I both decided that we would totally eat that for  breakfast – it was THAT good. And, there just may be some plans to recreate those flavors in a real breakfast soon.

I have no idea why I’m telling you all this when I have a couscous salad to share. I love this salad and ate it all by myself a few weeks ago…but it just doesn’t compare with candied bacon. Ever.

Grain salads like this, even though they’re not as exciting as ginger mousse or crispy basil, are one of my favorite things to make for work day lunches. They’re quick to make, easy to store for a few days, and you can eat them warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Plus, since weekday mornings are hectic around here, having good lunch options in the fridge is pretty much a necessity. Maybe next time I’ll add some candied bacon…

Couscous, White Bean, and Spinach Salad

Makes: 4 main dish or 6 side dish servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat Israeli couscous
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach, torn
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Pour broth into a medium sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir the couscous and salt into the broth, return to a boil, and lower the heat down to medium. Let the couscous simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to puff up and the broth is starting to absorb into the pasta.
  3. Add the broccoli to the pot with the couscous and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes until the couscous is tender, the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender and the broth has been absorbed.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the beans, spinach, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes, then stir in the feta before serving.

29 Responses to “Couscous, White Bean, and Spinach Salad”

  1. #
    1
    Jenny — June 22, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Hello Brandi
    Thanks for the couscous white bean and spinach salad recipe.
    I’ll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
    If you don’t mind, can you submit your couscous white bean and spinach salad photo in http://www.foodporn.net ?
    It’s a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you’d like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.

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    Kathryn — June 22, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I’m a big fan of stretching out birthdays as much as possible so I think you definitely deserve at least a week of celebrations!

    I’ve had vague plans of a similar salad in my head for a while now so I’m so excited that you made it & it sounds so delicious.

    • admin replied: — June 22nd, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      me too! birthday weeks are way better than just one day.

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    Lauren — June 22, 2012 at 10:40 am

    This looks so clean and refreshing. Perfect for a picnic which actually, I’m going to one this weekend and I’m on salad duty. Thanks for the idea!

    • admin replied: — June 22nd, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      fun! i love these for picnics – no mayo, no worries.

  4. #
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    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — June 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Your b’day dinner sounds wonderful!! And I love the look of this salad. And love the addition of the feta :)

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    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — June 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Ha! Love it. Happy, happy early birthday!!! This sounds delicious!

    • admin replied: — June 22nd, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      thanks Ali!

  6. #
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    Sydney @ The Crepes of Wrath — June 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    You’ve gotta celebrate all week! Especially as you get older – life gets so hectic and crazy that you really need to take any excuse you have to eat and live well.

  7. #
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    Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama — June 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    This salad looks fantastic. Happy birthday! :-)

    • admin replied: — June 22nd, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      thank you!!

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    Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — June 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    This looks awesome! I just bought some Israeli couscous and I’m so obsessed with it. Making this ASAP :)

    • admin replied: — June 22nd, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      it’s the only kind my husband likes – so good and fluffy!

  9. #
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    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — June 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Your birthday dinner sounds amazing!! Nothing wrong with stretching out your birthday celebration! :)
    This salad sounds fantastic! Must make!

  10. #
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    Eileen — June 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Wow, that couscous looks fabulous! And what a birthday dinner–I’m a little jealous. :)

  11. #
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    Cassie — June 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Ahhhhmazing. I love Israeli couscous!

  12. #
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    Julie @ Table for Two — June 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I hope you have an amazing birthday weekend! Looks like you already started it off on the right foot! :)

  13. #
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    Sommer@ASP — June 23, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Love, love, love israeli couscous! It reminds me of tapioca… Which is a good thing.

  14. #
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    Shannon — June 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

    well, this looks great, but it’s the sound of your dinner that has me swooning!! fabulous way to celebrate your birthday if you ask me :) hope sunday is just as great!

  15. #
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    Veronica Lambert — June 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Finally caught up on your recipes and they all look amazing and delicious!!! Happy B-day Brandi!!!

  16. #
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    Jersey Girl Cooks — June 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Hope you had a great birthday. Love the salad!

  17. #
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    Wendy — June 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Wonder if you could add some grilled chicken or shrimp to it to give it a high protein count????

    • admin replied: — June 26th, 2012 at 2:17 am

      definitely! the white beans give it a little protein, but you could add anything else to make it more of a main dish.

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    Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola — June 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I think you should look at it, not as an early birthday, but the start of birthday WEEK… or better yet, birthday month! Sounds like you had a fantastic dinner and how fun that you guys are now ‘regulars’. I’m so excited about this recipe too! I’ve been ALL about couscous salads lately, they feel so fresh and summery! Can’t wait to try this one!

  19. #
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    natalie (the sweets life) — June 26, 2012 at 1:56 am

    we are big fans of bufalo negras :)

    ps. you are definitely allowed to celebrate your bday for multiple days!

    • admin replied: — June 26th, 2012 at 2:18 am

      yeah, bufalo negras!!! i can’t even tell you how much i love them. i need to make them for the blog, i guess. i just like having someone else make them for me :)

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    Nutmeg Nanny — June 26, 2012 at 2:09 am

    I wanna go out to dinner with you. I would be all over ginger dessert. I wonder if it’s weird to order seconds on dessert….

    Also, this salad looks great! I’m such a sucker for spinach…yum!

    • admin replied: — June 26th, 2012 at 2:16 am

      oh, i’ve totally done seconds on dessert before. is that wrong? :)

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    Amelia @ Eating Made Easy — June 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I make a salad almost exactly like this, with a few different items.
    http://eating-made-easy.com/2011/01/24/couscous-salad-with-greens-and-beans/

    It’s the best!!

    p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

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