For you to really be on board with this being actually festive couscous instead of just regular old normal couscous, you have to be on board with the idea that cranberries are festive. I mean, minus cranberry juice (great for UTIs and vodka mixed drinks!), cranberries seem to only be truly incorporated into meals during the so-called holiday months, which, not-coincidentally, are a time of festivity. Ergo, adding cranberries to a couscous dish makes it feel instantly festive (the logic is sound, but the assumptions are dubious, I know).
But it’s not just the cranberries that make this dish into an excellent holiday treat ““ it’s the color combinations, too. Food is a surprisingly visual experience, as I learned upon encountering water dyed black and being unable to find it even remotely appealing, and this food has it all: in addition to the jewel-toned cranberries, there are deep, rich browns and fresh vibrant greens to beat the band.
So now to the food
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 ½ cup veggie broth
1 cup dried cranberries
1 large leek, chopped and diced into nice small bits
5 scallions that receive the same treatment as the leek
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup chopped walnuts
OK, cook the couscous in the veggie broth. Take it off the heat and throw in the cranberries, leek, scallions, and walnuts. Mix with vigor but not too much because then you’ll just blend it into a mush. Then, mix the olive oil and vinegar together, and pour over the couscous. Mix again. Hooray mixing! Then let it cool to room temperature or just eat it ““ it is fine either way and I am not the boss of you.