The sound of lawns being mowed, birds singing, the smell of neighborhood barbeques.. aaaah now that’s what I love about summer. Although it’s currently 55 degrees and raining in Seattle, I assume that it is in fact summer in most other parts of the country. Therefore I am in the mood for some summer salads. Israeli couscous plus roasted vegetables, tossed with oil and balsamic vinegar… equals a match made in heaven.
I was grazing my way through Whole Foods the other day, when I couldn’t help but admire the salad bar: crisp, fresh spinach, butter lettuce, arugula, olives galore, a beautiful bean salad, marinated artichoke hearts, savory mushrooms, toppings of sunflower seeds, but also roasted pumpik seeds, fresh herbs, Israeli couscous.. wait, Israeli couscous?? What is that? Well it looked delicious and I had to have it. So-glad-I-did. Those little edible pearls had a perfect al dente texture, completely satisfying to the bite, and marvelously silky-smooth while rolling around on the tongue. Yes, I did enjoy my couscous salad.. at home of course. I didn’t stand in Whole Foods eating over the salad bar, but I thought about it 🙂
So that tasty lunch-on-the-run had me thinking I should make my own couscous salad, and so I did! This recipe was adapted from a Bobby Flay that I found on Food Network. You can find the original recipe here.
Israeli Couscous & Roasted Vegetable Salad
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp spicy mustard
salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 yellow summer squash
1 red bell pepper
10 Crimini mushrooms
10 asparagus spears
10 cherry tomatoes
8 ounces dry Israeli couscous
1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium, low fat)
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Mix first ingredients, through garlic. Cube all the vegetables and add to the marinade, through cherry tomatoes. Let the vegetables soak for 15-20 minutes, then transfer (leaving marinade behind) onto a baking sheet and roast veggies under the broiler for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, toast couscous in 1 T olive oil on the stove top for about 3 minutes, add broth, water, and cook until al dente (about 7-8 minutes). Drain, mix couscous with roasted veggies, add back the oil and balsamic marinade and chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled add shredded fresh basil. Viola! You’re ready for your next potluck.
Health Note: Israeli couscous is just semolina flour and water. So unlike refined/enriched flours found in white bread or white pasta, this contains all the fiber and nutrition of a whole wheat pasta. Prepare, eat, and enjoy in moderation. I recommend a 1/2 cup serving over fresh greens, like spinach. Deeeelish!!
What kind of summer salads are you whipping up?