1/4 tsp saffron threads
2 1/4 cups chicken broth (use “no chicken” broth to make it vegetarian/pareve)
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups instant couscous (about one 12 oz. box)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Small pinch of cayenne pepper (optional– adds spice)
Pour saffron threads into a mortar and crush them into powder. Pour 1/4 cup hot water over the saffron and let it soak for five minutes.
Pour the saffron water into a large saucepan along with chicken broth (use “no chicken” broth to keep it vegetarian), 1 tsp salt, lemon zest, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Bring to a boil.
Add the instant couscous to the boiling broth and stir. Bring back to a boil, then immediately cover and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam in the pot for 8-10 minutes till tender.
Meanwhile, pour pine nuts into a skillet and roast them over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, till they are toasted light brown and release some of their natural oils. Watch the nuts carefully, they can easily burn if left unattended.
Pour the toasted pine nuts into a large mixing bowl along with the chopped cilantro and garbanzo beans.
Use a fork to fluff the couscous in the pan, then scrape the couscous into the mixing bowl with the fork, fluffing the couscous as you go. Use a fork or clean hands to mix all ingredients till thoroughly combined, breaking up any clumps of couscous that may have formed.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, and a very small pinch of cayenne pepper. Pour the dressing from the small bowl into the couscous mixture. Toss with a fork to thoroughly coat. Taste and season with additional lemon juice or salt, if desired.
May be served warm or at room temperature. I like to make this couscous with chicken broth to give it a rich, savory flavor. If you’re a vegetarian/vegan or wish to keep the salad pareve, use a mock chicken broth like Imagine Organic No Chicken Broth.