Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Whole Wheat Couscous Salad Recipe with Persimmon, Grapes, Green Onion, Mint, and Pine Nuts

Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Persimmon, Grapes, Green Onion, Mint, and Pine NutsHave you ever cooked with Fuyu persimmons? I'd never even tasted them until a few days ago when a huge box of persimmons arrived in the mail! They were from Andrea of Rookie Cookery, who had offered to send me some when I confessed on Twitter that I hadn't ever eaten them. Thanks Andrea! I really like the subtle, not too sweet flavor of Fuyu persimmons. When a friend asked me to describe the flavor I said it was something like a cross between mango and apple. If you've cooked with Fuyus or eaten them, please chime in with a comment about how to describe the flavor and how you've used them in recipes.

Here are the two Fuyu persimmons I used in the salad. Some people compare their looks to tomatoes, and they do look kind of similar, but persimmons are much firmer and the skin is thicker. Most sources say to peel the skin, which is what I did. I wanted a recipe that would really let the persimmon flavor be the main attraction, and I loved this salad.

I used the Whole Wheat Couscous that I featured as one of Kalyn's Kitchen Picks. Couscous is not a grain, it's actually tiny little pieces of pasta. You add it to boiling water or stock and it's ready in five minutes. If you need a gluten-free option, I would make this with quinoa.

After five minutes the stock is absorbed, and you fluff it up and let it cool. What could be easier?

While the couscous is cooking in the hot stock, prep the other ingredients. I peeled and diced the persimmons, and cut the grapes into slices, and I was aiming for fairly small pieces that were about the same size.

Use mostly the green parts of green onions for this, and cut them fairly thin.

I had mint in my garden, but if you don't have any you could use parsley or cilantro in this salad.

When all the ingredients are chopped, mix the diced persimmon, sliced grapes, sliced green onions, and chopped mint in a bowl that's big enough to hold the couscous also.

I whisked together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pinch of cumin and then just mixed it into the couscous right in the pan, saving the need to dirty another dish! You could taste the couscous and see if you want to add any salt.

Then mix the seasoned couscous into the persimmon-grape mixture and use a large spoon to gently combine.

Heat a pan and toast the pine nuts for 1-2 minutes, and don't walk away while you're doing this because they burn really quickly. As soon as you see a few nuts getting some color on them, turn off the heat and add the pine nuts to the salad. Serve at room temperature. I have some of this in the fridge, so I'll report back tomorrow about how well it keeps.

Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Persimmon, Grapes, Green Onion, Mint, and Pine Nuts
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe inspired by lots of googling and persimmons from Andrea of Rookie Cookery that came in the mail!)

3/4 cup whole wheat couscous (1/2 box of the brand I had, could use quinoa for a gluten-free version)
1 cup chicken stock (or vegetarian stock)
2 tsp. olive oil + 1 T olive oil for dressing
2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and diced into pieces about 1/2 inch square
1 cup purple seedless grapes, washed and sliced into round pieces
1/3 cup sliced green onion, mostly green parts
1/3 cup finely chopped mint (or use parsley or cilantro)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional, but recommended)
pinch of ground cumin (could use cinnamon or Sumac instead if you prefer those flavors)
salt to taste for seasoning couscous
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or use chopped pecans or slivered almonds)

Put chicken stock into a small pan with a tight fitting lid, add 2 tsp. olive oil, and bring to a boil. When it boils, stir in couscous, cover pan and let sit 5-10 minutes. When time is up, remove lid and fluff couscous with a fork and let it cool. (Follow package directions if you're substituting quinoa.)

While couscous cooks and cools, prep other ingredients. Slice persimmons in half from top to bottom, then peel and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and dry grapes if needed, then slice into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Thinly slice green onions, and wash and dry mint and finely chop.

Combine the diced persimmon, sliced grapes, sliced green onions, and chopped mint in a bowl that's big enough to hold the rest of the ingredients. Whisk together the 1T olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pinch of ground cumin. Pour the dressing over the cooled couscous and stir to distribute, then taste the couscous and see if you want to season with salt.

Add couscous to the persimmon-grape mixture in bowl and gently combine. Put pine nuts into a dry pan, heat for 1-2 minutes, just until you are barely starting to see some color on a few of the pine nuts, add to salad and combine again. Serve at room temperature.

Since this is my first time cooking with and eating persimmons, it seems like a perfect post for Weekend Herb Blogging, now managed by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once and hosted by Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen this week. Check the Rules for Weekend Herb Blogging if you'd like to participate.

South Beach Suggestions:
Using whole wheat couscous makes this recipe acceptable for the South Beach Diet, but with two kinds of fruit and the couscous, this is probably best for phase 3 if you're on South Beach.

More Fuyu Persimmon Recipes I Just Might Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Fuyu Persimmon Sauce from Rookie Cookery (like applesauce, only made with persimmons!)
Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad from Simply Recipes
Coppa-Wrapped Persimmon from Hedonia
Sunchoke Salad with Persimmons from Hunter Gardener Angeler Cook
Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Gouda from Savour Fare
Persimmon, Parsley, and Olive Salad from Herbivoracious
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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  1. I never have eaten a persimmon myself. I see them all the time and your beautiful dish now has be intrigued.

  2. Kayln, this looks delicious. I tried persimmons for the first time last year, and was pleasantly surprised. I'd say they taste a bit like honey, as well.

  3. This looks so gorgeous and healthy! It reminds me of a couscous salad I once got from the salad bar at Whole Foods...except yours is way more exotic and looks way tastier!

  4. What fun! I've never had Fuyu persimmons but now will look for them at the market. The colors of this couscous salad remind me of Fall in New England. And there's still some mint in my garden.

  5. What a great recipe! I love the whole combo of ingredients, and I'll bet it would be terrific with quinoa too. I really enjoy persimmons, but I've never cooked with them. I have a little Fuyu persimmon tree in my yard that I've been babying for over a year now. I'm dying for the day it finally starts to bear fruit! When I get my first "crop", I'll send you some more!

  6. That salad looks simply spectacular! I am so pleased you are enjoying the persimmons:) I am always looking for new ways to use them, and this recipe will be just the ticket. Thank you so much for sharing it. I think I already have some couscous in my pantry, too. I also appreciate your link to my site, Kalyn, although I have been away from blogging for awhile. Now you are inspiring me again. That's a pretty good trade all around!

  7. I love fruit in salads, but I have never tried adding persimmons. Thanks for such a great idea! :D
    I've bookmarked it and I'll try it soon ^^

  8. That looks really good, colorful as well. Like a flavor explosion!

  9. I just posted a recipe for pork stuffed with persimmons which I made up. Love them!

    This salad looks terrific, Kalyn. Seriously terrific.

  10. Thanks soooooo much. We have now tons of persimon on sale... will make this right now.

  11. I had persimmons for the first time on my trip to SF. I was really pleasantly surprised by how good they were! But then again I love both mangoes and apples. This sounds like a great salad!

  12. I love persimmons, but I've never had them cooked! Looks delicious, I got to try this recipe.

  13. such great salad recipes lately from everyone... I want them all

  14. No, I've never had them before. But I bet they were great in that dish, especially since you used pine nuts hmmmm, delicious!

  15. I've never cooked with persimmons either Kalyn...this salad looks fantastic! Looking forward to including this in WHB #210...

  16. So glad people are liking the sound of this. To clarify, the persimmons in this recipe are not cooked, just diced up raw. Andrea, thanks again! And now I wish I lived somewhere that I could have a persimmon tree!

  17. another very good salad, Kalyn! I individually love each ingredient and persimmons are my fall favorite fruit! Can't wait to try this recipe.

  18. Gawd, Kalyn! I'd forgotten about that sunchoke and persimmon salad! Thanks for the link -- and the reminder: I have both ready in my yard now...

  19. Kalyn, this dish is gorgeous! The colors of the ingredients make such a festive dish. I have never cooked with persimmons,but am now inspired to try.

  20. Yummy looking couscous Kalyn! I used persimmon the first time a few months ago & really liked it. I thought it tasted between mango & rock melon which was perfect for the rocket & persimmon-wrapped prosciutto salad I made. Love the ingredients you used in this recipe. Cheers!

  21. What a great salad. Never thought of adding fruits to couscous, looks great.
    I made finally today some simple salad with pomegranate, it was delicious.

  22. sounds delish, i have a persimmon tree and love your idea of adding grapes~

  23. There seem to be a lot of persimmon fans. Now that I've tried them, I'm jealous of people who have them growing! Such a good flavor. I'm having fun experimenting with them.

  24. This looks gorgeous! And I just learned that there are a couple of persimmon varieties native to the Texas Hill Country so I've been eager to experiment with them. Thank you for giving me a delicious place to start.

  25. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, here in Israel persimmon is a very
    popular fruit, but mostly eaten as a fruit alone.

    I am supposed to bring a dish to a surprise party next week-- guess what is going to be?? I will post the reactions....

    Thanks form Sunny Tel Aviv

  26. Rose, how fun to hear from someone in Israel. I hope the salad will be a hit, let us know how they like it!

  27. 2nd recipe today i've seen with persimmon. I'm making this for my mom for thanksgiving. she looooves the fruit. it's her fave. great combo of colors and texture.

  28. the persimmons around here (toronto chinatown) are always tasteless! would love to have one with a real taste. the salad looks yummy! i would try it with quinoa instead, as susan said.

  29. This looks amazing! Reminds me of a Moroccan dish.

  30. I like how you combine the sweet and savory flavors! What a blast!

  31. Wow! The flavors must be fantastic! I just love it! I've never had persimmons before, but I hope one day I will try some.

  32. this salad looks great! and persimmon is in season now too! might just serve it for the family get together this weekend.

  33. Kalyn,what a creative take! I've included your recipe in the Vegetarian Ramadan round-up on my blog - hope you'll find it interesting to check out the rest here. Have a great weekend)

  34. Olga, will take a look, thanks for including me.

  35. It's autumn here now in NZ and trees with persimmons on them look stunning. They can be enjoyed 2 ways - while still crunchy (as you have done in this delicious sounding combo, which I will make for lunch today),

    The other way is when they have become very soft, jelly-like and sweet. I like to swirl this through yoghurt, but sometimes I will just top the fruit and spoon the 'jelly' to eat direct, it is also easy to use this fully ripe soft persimmon in making baked goods, muffins and the like.

    Next fall, I encourage you to keep some aside as a beautiful decoration in your kitchen until they become soft enough to enjoy this way too.

  36. Robyn, so glad you're going to get to try this. I have heard about the different ways to enjoy persimmons and different varieties, but so far I've only tasted the Fuyu ones that are eaten crunchy.

  37. Hi Kalyn,

    Since we are cooking the Persimmons here, we dont have to wait for them to get ripe or soft right? I can use it as it is.

  38. No, the persimmons aren't cooked and they do need to be ripe.


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