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Couscous or Millet Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Smoked Turkey

This is a salad with autumn and winter written all over it. As the days grow shorter and the weather turns colder this salad has the heft to fill you up as a main dish and it doesn’t require lettuce unless you want it to. You can make it ahead of time and serve it chilled or room temperature or make and eat it when it’s slightly warm.  Add a cup of soup and dinner is solved. It travels well and doesn’t wilt — perfect for work or a potluck. You can use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, instead of smoked turkey, or use some of each as the smoked turkey flavor makes the salad pop. It keeps well in the fridge and the Honey Mustard Dressing is addictive. Couscous takes just minutes to cook, you can shell the pistachios while watching Netflix and throw the last ingredients together in 15 minutes.

However, like just about everything else in life, there’s a small catch — couscous has gluten, so for those of us who can’t have gluten, this salad doesn’t work. But, with a slight attitude (ahem), ingredient adjustment, it works perfectly. Just as I discovered years ago that millet is a terrific replacement for bulgher wheat in tabouli (tabbouleh), the same is true for couscous. Most of us think bird seed when we see millet, but half the world uses it as a grain, porridge or in beer making…and also use it as bird seed. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, is quite inexpensive and it doesn’t contain gluten! It does take a bit longer to cook than couscous, but not by much. It fluffs up similarly to rice (and couscous) when it’s cooked and it absorbs the flavor of gravy, dressings and more. Both couscous and millet are low in calories though millet wins when it comes to nutrients as couscous is a processed wheat pasta. Use whichever you prefer as they both work! 

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Couscous or Millet Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Smoked Turkey

Scale

Ingredients

Salad

  • 10-ounce package of couscous
  • Generous 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1214 ounces smoked turkey cut into small strips
  • 1 sweet, crisp apple
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Mustard Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard or Dijon style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar if using unsweetened mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Spanish smoked paprika to taste or for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan with tight-fitting lid, bring stock or water to oil. remove from heat and add couscous and cranberries. Cover and allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. While the couscous cooks, cut the turkey into small strips or pieces. Core and chop the apple, slice the onions and chop pistachios.
  3. Transfer couscous mixture to a large bowl, and toss the mixture with a fork to separate the grains. Add turkey, apple, onions, and pistachios and mix well.
  4. Prepare the dressing by placing in a jar with a tight cap. Shake well and pour over salad, mixing well. Serve or cover and chill until serving.
 

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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.

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