Couscous salad with a North African twist

Couscous may have originated on this continent, but the addition of avocado gives this dish a distinctly Mexican look and taste.

Couscous salad with a North African twist

1 Couscous is just another take on semolina wheat and comes in two speeds: fast and slow. Slow is traditional and gives you the time to contemplate the horizon, the sky and passing birds, and maybe think about the weather next Tuesday. If you have other things to do, stick with fast. This takes 10 minutes, and has simple instructions on the packet.
Use one cup of dry couscous to make the three cups of cooked couscous the meal
requires. Let it cool.

2 Remove and discard the ends of the fresh green beans, and place them into a pot of lightly salted, rapidly boiling water for 60 seconds. This allows you to conserve the bright green colour and a considerable part of the crunch. Rinse the beans in cold water, drain in
a colander and reserve for later in the proceedings.

3 Now for the dressing. Peel, then thinly slice the onions, the white bulbs of the spring onions, and the garlic. Place these in a bowl with the lemon juice and lemon zest (the zest is the outer, aromatic layer of the peel and not the peel itself). A production note: collect the zest before you squeeze the lemon. Add a little salt and black pepper. Leave the contents of the bowl to settle down, then add the olive oil and combine the entire dressing with a ball whisk.

4 Place the cooled, cooked couscous in a mixing bowl and add half the dressing. Stir.

5 Slice the beans into thirds, on the diagonal, and cut thick slices of avocado. Finely
chop the green tops of the spring onions, and drain half the can of white beans.

6 Combine these in a medium bowl, sprinkle a little salt, then add the second half of
the dressing. Gently toss the contents of the bowl, taking care not to crumble the avocado.

7 Spread the dressed couscous in a flat bowl. Arrange the green and white beans,
spring onion and avocado in a layer on top. Tear the basil leaves and scatter the fragments
over the top, then serve. This salad works well on its own and even better as a green contribution to the braai.

David Basckin is a freelance journalist and videographer.