Couscous Salad

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Jennifer Pallian
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Summer has officially begun on the West Coast of Canada! Hoorah!

To celebrate, I spent the day at the beach with my adorable furry bottomed friend. I put in some time working on my freckles, examining seashells, doing some neurons-not-required reading, and savouring the first of the local cherries. And despite all of that exhausting labour, I found time to cook! It was the perfect day.

beach

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This couscous salad is perfect summer food; delicious, light, cool, and full of bright flavours like herbs, lemon, and fresh garlic. It is perfect picnic food. Perfect potluck food. Perfect side dish to grilled chicken or steak. It is a warm weather staple in my kitchen.

Adarsh insists that I make sure everyone knows this couscous salad is his favourite food. I'm skeptical, because he tosses out words like "favourite", and "best ever", and "we should eat this every day" so often (about three times a day, to be specific, and generally coinciding with meals) that these exuberant exclamations kinda lose their substance. However, today when I made this for lunch, his enthusiasm convinced me that maybe he really does like it that much. He asked me to make it for his birthday. I personally thought he'd shoot a bit higher... but hey, I'm not gonna argue.

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My favourite thing about summer salads is their versatility. The "add-ins" I mentioned are just a smattering of things I had on hand today. This is a great opportunity to experiment! It would be delicious with dried cranberries instead of raisins, toasted almonds instead of walnuts, and/or some diced celery. Also, you can use more or less of the herbs - or switch them up. Sometimes I leave out the mint if I don't have it on hand.

Did you know that couscous is just a teeny, tiny pasta?

Couscous Salad

For couscous:

  • 1 1/4 cup couscous

  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 1/4 cup minced mint

  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

  • 1 apple, cored and diced (I leave the peel on)

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced

  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Add-ins:

For Dressing:

1. Pour the boiling water over the dry couscous, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and spread out over a baking sheet to cool faster.

2. Once couscous is cool, toss in a large bowl with mint, parsley, green onions, and desired add-ins.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Pour over couscous salad and toss thoroughly to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.