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Candied Walnut Arugula Couscous Salad

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This beautiful and, might I add, healthy (hint: New Year’s resolutions) salad recipe is a staple in my household. The slightly bitter arugula works wonderfully with the candied walnuts and tart pomegranate seeds. Israeli couscous is one of those “pasta-like” grains that you can make in bulk and repurpose in other recipes. One of my local go-to salad wines–yes, pinot grigio and salad is a thing–is the 2017 Van Ruiten Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio. Full of crisp green apple notes and lemon verbena, it’s the ideal daytime glass. 

Candied Walnut Arugula Couscous Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 cups Israeli couscous
1 bunch dill
1 5-ounce box arugula
Candied walnuts
Pomegranate seeds
Feta cheese

Dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Drizzle of honey

Instructions
Start by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook couscous until soft, 5-8 minutes. Strain couscous and toss with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and salt to keep it from sticking together. Once couscous cools, add fresh chopped dill. Toss arugula, couscous, candied walnuts and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl with salad dressing. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese and fresh ground pepper.


Candied Red Walnuts 

Ingredients
2 cups red walnuts
1 egg white
2 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of salt

Instructions
Start by whipping egg white and water until foamy with a hand whisk. Coat the walnuts evenly with egg and then fold in sugars, salt and the cinnamon stick, grated. Bake walnuts at 370 degrees for 10 minutes on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Remove the walnuts from the oven and move them around with a wooden spoon. Bake for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. 

The red walnuts in this recipe are grown on Good Earth Farms of Clements, California, owned and operated by the Vaccarezza family. The farm grows many commodities such as wine grapes, almonds, walnuts and their very latest, Red Walnuts, also known as Big Red Nuts. Red walnuts are a rare and unique nut developed by the great minds at Berkley Farms, UC Davis. These nuts are not dyed; they are naturally a beautiful deep red color. Many describe the red walnuts as having a sweet and buttery taste; they are great for dressing up any dish and also add great flavor! All of Good Earth Farms’ Big Red Nuts are hand cracked. These nuts must be hand cracked to preserve their beautiful red skins, and countless hours go in to cracking them! To purchase, visit bigrednuts.com.

Written by: Lauren Rose: lomade.co, @Laurenrosecooks 

Lauren Rose is obsessed with all things food and wine. As a part-time private chef and sommelier, full-time dinner party queen and Lodi native, she specializes in seasonal, Mediterranean fare with her own millennial twist.