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Pearl Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Feta

Pearl Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Feta
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR /

Pearl, or Israeli, couscous is much larger and smoother than traditional couscous and makes a wonderful cool salad on summer's hottest days. Here, roasted tomatoes and garlic are the perfect backdrop to salty chunks of feta cheese.

Makes 6 servings

Tomatoes and Dressing

2 pints red grape or cherry tomatoes

3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


2 3/4 cups vegetable broth

2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

8 ounces feta, crumbled

1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in single layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add unpeeled garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes.

Peel garlic and puree with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender or food processor until dressing is very smooth.

Bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, and stir in couscous. Simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

Spread couscous in single layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes.

Transfer couscous to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing and the rest of the roasted tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve at room temperature.

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