Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simple Summer Couscous Salad

Simple Summer Couscous Salad | Taste As You Go

I can hardly believe it. Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and the unofficial start of summer is less than a week away! Those of us in New York -- in the Northeast, in general -- have already been dealing with summer-like weather with mini heat waves and high levels of humidity that make me wonder why I bother to dry my hair some mornings.

Simple Summer Couscous Salad | Taste As You Go

For me, the days (and nights) of summer are meant to be laid-back and relaxed. The last thing I want to do is spend more time than necessary in my kitchen when I could be spending it outside, soaking in the sun. And when the temperatures are pushing 100 degrees, I'm more likely to opt for something that doesn't require me to heat up my apartment. That's why this Simple Summer Couscous Salad is the perfect go-to summer meal.

Simple Summer Couscous Salad | Taste As You Go

Rather than tossing vegetables with a variety of greens or with cooked short pasta, I like to make up a batch of couscous instead. Couscous can be prepared on the stove top or in the microwave and this dish can be altered any number of ways to accommodate personal tastes or availability of produce in the local market. It can even provide a convenient way to use up leftover vegetables and herbs you may already have in your refrigerator!

Simple Summer Couscous Salad

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup light and fat-free chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Bring stock to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the couscous. Stir constantly until the stock is nearly absorbed by the couscous, about 2 minutes.
  2. Cover the pan and pull off the heat. Allow the couscous to steam for 5 minutes. Pour the cooked couscous onto a large baking sheet. Spread couscous in a thin layer on the sheet and set aside to cool.
  3. Once cool, put the couscous in a large bowl. Add cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and scallions. Toss gently and set aside.
  4. Pour the white wine vinegar into a medium bowl. Slowly stream the extra-virgin olive oil into the bowl, whisking constantly to combine with the vinegar. Whisk in the parsley and season the vinaigrette to taste with the salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and vegetables. Toss gently to combine. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go

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