1. Put the water in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, and bring to a boil. (Or put the couscous, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the water in a microwave-safe container. Cover and cook on high power for 6 minutes.)
2. Meanwhile, trim the bulb ends of the green onions, cut in thirds crosswise, and put into a food processor with the mint leaves. Pulse until coarsely chopped. (Or chop by hand.) Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Trim the ends of the cucumbers but do not peel (unless you are using cucumbers with waxy skin). Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide pieces. Add to the mixing bowl.
3. When the water in the saucepan comes to a boil, add the couscous, stir, and turn off the heat. Cover and let the couscous steam for 7 minutes. (If using a microwave, also let the couscous steam for 7 minutes.)
4. While the couscous steams, open the cans of chickpeas into a colander. Rinse briefly and let drain. Core the tomatoes and squeeze out the juice. Quarter the tomatoes and add to the food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add to the mixing bowl. Put the peppers in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. (The vegetables may be chopped by hand.) Add to the mixing bowl along with the capers. Pat any moisture from the chickpeas with paper towels and add to the mixing bowl. Mix the vegetables well, but gently.
5. Juice 1 lemon into a small bowl and mix in the olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Fluff the couscous with a large fork. Add to the mixing bowl with the vegetables. Add the dressing and mix well. Taste and add more salt and the juice from the remaining lemon half, if desired.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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