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Recipe: How to make a Sweden-inspired colourful couscous salad

Couscous, fruit and beetroot combine in this colourful salad from Swedish food writer John Duxbury.

Recipe: How to make a Sweden-inspired colourful couscous salad
Fruity couscous salad with beetroot. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes are great lovers of salads and make a considerable use of beetroot (beets) as they grow well in Sweden. In recent years they have also started to use couscous a lot, something that goes well with beetroot, and which now often features in Swedish salads.

Another feature about Swedish salads is that they often use fruit, sometimes just for added colour, but here the figs are a key ingredient.

Summary

Serves 8

Preparation: 10 Minutes

Cooking: 40 Minutes

Based on a recipe published by ICA in Sweden

Tips

•  Use pearl couscous if you can as it looks better and adds a bit of bite to the salad. Pearl couscous is sometimes referred to as jumbo couscous, Israeli couscous, mougrabieh, fregola or giant couscous, depending on where you live.

•  I have increased the amount of salad from 70 g to 150 g and the quantity of raisins from 30 g to 75 g, but you may prefer the original quantities.

Ingredients

600 g (1 1/4 lb) beetroot (beets)

200 g (1 1/4 cups) couscous

1 small red onion

3 fresh figs

75 g (1/2 cup) raisins

150 g (5 oz) mixed salad leaves

Dressing:

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, preferably white

1 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1. Trim most of the stalk from the beetroot, scrub, put them in a pan, cover with water, add some salt and bring to boil. Simmer until tender, which can take anything from 10 to 50 minutes depending on their size. When cool, peel and cut into small wedge.

2. Meanwhile cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and loosen with a fork if it is too sticky.

3. Peel the onion and slice thinly.

4. Halve the figs and slice thinly.

5. Mix all the ingredients in a large dish, keeping back some couscous, fig slices and raisins.

6. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together. Pour over the salad and toss.

7. Garnish with the remaining couscous, fig slices and raisins.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food

 

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Swedish recipe of the week: coleslaw with cinnamon

If you have some leftover cinnamon from last week's cinnamon bun day, food writer John Duxbury shares his take on this classic salad, adding his own Swedish twist to it.

Swedish recipe of the week: coleslaw with cinnamon
The finished and garnished coleslaw. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes tend to eat a lot of raw vegetables so it is not surprising that coleslaw makes a regular appearance at mealtimes in Sweden. Adding cinnamon may seem a little strange, but a small amount adds a little interest. It goes well with robust foods such as with venison burgers.

Summary
 
Serves: 4-5

Level: Very easy

Preparation: 5 minutes (Plus 20 minutes for the cabbage to marinate)
 
Takes 25 minutes
 
Ingredients
 
300 g (12 oz) white cabbage (about half a cabbage)
 
1 medium cabbage
 
1 tsp lemon juice
 
1/2 tsp salt
 
1 pinch ground cinnamon
 
5 tbsp mayonnaise
 
Freshly chopped herbs to garnish
 
Method

1. Remove the core of the cabbage and any blemished leaves.

2. Finely chop the cabbage into long thin strips. (You can do this with a julienne slicer fitted to a food processor if you have one.)

3. Peel and thinly slice the carrot.

4. Mix the cabbage, carrot, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss thoroughly. Leave to stand for about 20 minutes.

5. Tip the cabbage and carrot mixture into a colander and drain thoroughly.

6. Add the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.

7. Garnish with a light coating of cinnamon and some chopped herbs.

Tips

– Don't add too much cinnamon. It needs to add interest without being overpowering.

– Don't be tempted to use reduce fat mayonnaise. We were, but the coleslaw wasn't nearly as nice as it somehow seemed to make it greasier. The amount of saturated fat in one portion is, in any case, fairly small, at under 2 grams, so we didn't feel too guilty eating coleslaw made with ordinary mayonnaise!

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of the Swedish Food website.

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