Laura Davidson found inspiration for this summer couscous salad by just taking a peek in the fridge.
By Laura Davidson
Even though this salad is most certainly not the most creative recipe I’ve ever made, it was extremely tasty, healthy, and exactly the type of food I crave in the middle of the summer. It can be put together in about 20 minutes or less and doesn’t require any standing over the stove, which is probably the last thing most of us feel like doing with all these crazy heat waves we’ve been experiencing.
In fact, this salad was put together simply by staring into my fridge and seeing what types of ingredients I could throw together. After “cooking” couscous several times in culinary school, I’ve concluded it is probably the easiest grain to put together in a time crunch.
You simply have to combine it with equal parts warm water (and a drizzle of olive oil + pinch of salt) and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, simply break it all up with your hands and use as desired. Really, it’s that simple.
My inspiration started with a large bunch of fresh mint leaves I had picked up at the farmer’s market that weekend. And a craving for a Greek/Mediterranean inspired dish…
Feta was the next logical addition and while you could most certainly use mozzarella or another type of cheese (or omit it altogether), it adds a great salty element and really pulls the dish together. I used whole wheat couscous to make it a bit healthier and heartier.
This salad would make a great side dish to grilled fish or chicken, or you could easily add some garbanzo beans to make it a one-bowl meal. And you could easily pack it up for a snack at the pool-side or summer family get-together!
Perhaps a Fourth of July BBQ side dish? You see where I’m going with this…
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 3-4 green onions, finely sliced
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
- 3-4 basil leaves, chiffonade
- ½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ cup English cucumber, finely chopped
- 6 ounces feta, sliced into small cubes
- 2 pinches red hot pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1½ lemons
- Combine couscous, drizzle of olive oil and 1 cup of warm water in bowl.
- Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until all liquid has absorbed. Break apart grains with fingers.
- Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients and combine in large bowl. Add cooked couscous and stir with spoon until all ingredients are incorporated throughout. Season with salt and pepper (and add additional red hot pepper flakes if desired).
- Chill or serve immediately.