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I had a difficult time keeping myself from eating this entire dish in one sitting. This was partly because I've been really monitoring my grain intake this week, but mostly because the combination of flavors just reached out and called to me like an overzealous telemarketer with replacement windows. Couscous, roasted butternut squash and fresh baby spinach are lovingly kissed with cumin, curry and citrus to create a wonderful salad that is a meal in itself. I have enjoyed this both cold and at room temperature. It's delicious either way.
Curried Couscous With Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach
1/2 butternut squash
2 TBSP plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cup instant whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (I used Splenda)
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 green onions, green part only, thinly sliced
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Peel butternut squash and scoop out seeds. We'll only be using half of the squash so if you're not going to roast the entire squash, cover other half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for further use. Dice squash into 3/4" cubes. Place squash into a bowl and drizzle with two tsp of olive oil. Stir to coat. Season with salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir again to evenly coat squash with spices. Place squash on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, until fork tender, stirring after 15 minutes so squash cooks and browns evenly. Remove from oven and set aside.
Stir the couscous, cranberries, salt, sugar and curry powder together in a heat-proof bowl. Add boiling water and orange juice. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for five minutes then uncover and fluff with fork. Stir in the remainder of the olive oil, lemon juice, spinach, green onions and pecans. Gently fold in butternut squash. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.
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