You might be here wondering, “what the heck is ptitim?” My hope is that you’ll give this recipe a shot and discover a new , must-have staple for your pantry. Pasta salads are a summer staple, but they aren’t always a good healthy choice, especially if you are trying to avoid starchy carbohydrates or the sugar that might be hidden in that creamy dressing. I love making pasta salads out of ptitim – also known as Israeli couscous. The small little pasta pearls add great texture to your salad, but they also pack in a surprising amount of delicious flavor. Because of this, you can use the pasta as more of a complement to the other ingredients in the dish. In this pasta salad I’ve paired the ptitim with lots of vegetables, some tart cherries, and a citrus dressing. It’s hearty enough to stand on its own, but makes a great side dish as well.
Ptitim and Tart Cherry Salad
- 1 cup dry ptitim (Israeli couscous)
- 1 English cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ½” slices
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 2 red, orange, or flame peppers, diced
- 1 cup pitted, halved tart cherries
- 6-7 mint leaves, sliced finely
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the citrus dressing
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup olive oil
Cook the ptitim according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool
Once it has cooled to room temperature, mix it in a large bowl with the cucumber, red onion, peppers and tart cherries. Stir gently to combine
To make the dressing, which the orange and lime juice with the olive oil until thoroughly combines. Add the salt and some pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary
Add about 1/2 of the dressing to your salad and stir. Taste and add additional dressing as desired.
Refrigerate until ready to serve, garnished with the mint. Tastes great either chilled or at room temperature
This salad is also super easy to customize and make your own! Don’t have tart cherries? The salad would be equally delicious with blueberries or slices of citrus. Not following a vegan diet? Add some chunked feta cheese or goat cheese. Want more protein? Add some toasted pine nuts or almonds. There are hundreds of different ways to mix this up. If you discover a favorite way to customize, let us know on Facebook so we can give it a try.
Why It’s Good
Many pasta salads are full of simple carbohydrates, and the creamy dressing may be a hidden source of unwanted sugar. This dish uses ptitim - also known as Israeli couscous - and is loaded with lots of fresh, healthy vegetables. It's paired with a refreshing citrus dressing and makes a great healthy option for a hot summer day.