Cucumber, Mango & Avocado Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint-Chile Vinaigrette
I dropped a running stand mixer on the dog. It was whipping cream. I was reaching for the controls. He tripped me.
Next thing I knew, the machine was sailing off the counter in slow motion, slamming sideways into my unfortunate canine, blanketing him in softly whipped peaks and very nearly knocking him out.
A flurry of splattering cream, screaming, yelps, limbs in all directions (both of ours), flying fur and wildly scratching claws desperate to gain traction against the slippery hardwood ensued as he peeled away to safety.
He’s okay, don’t worry.
I think the worst part for the poor little guy – cream-drenched and trembling in a corner – was the bewilderment of it all: should I be happy or sad?
Ouch! But, yum! But, ouch…
As he gingerly licked himself clean of sweet, sweet whipped cream, I could see him warily eyeing the offending appliance, trying to work out whether this was a good thing or a bad thing that happened to him.
Frankly, I don’t think his feeble Irish Setter mind could take the perplexity of such a delicious and painful situation even before getting walloped in the brains by a KitchenAid.
I’m going to keep an eye on him…
Meanwhile, I bring you an incredible salad of chewy Israeli couscous, creamy avocado, sweet mango, spicy chile, fresh cucumber and mint.
I got hooked on spicy vinaigrettes paired with sweet, ripe fruit last summer – with melon and arugula dressed in olive oil, lime juice and jalapeño. I wanted to bring back that flavour profile, but in a more substantial bowlful. I grabbed Israeli cousous (they’re pearl-sized little pasta balls – all couscous is actually teeny semolina pasta!), but feel free to reach for any small pasta or chewy grain.
Also, as the season progresses, sub in any sweet fruit you like – strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe – you really can’t go wrong.
- 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous, dry
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 english cucumber
- 1 ripe mango
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
- 1/4 cup minced green onion
- 1 serrano chile, minced
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- Cook israeli couscous in a pot of boiling water (as you would pasta) until al dente, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinsing with cold water until cool; drain 10 minutes.
- Peel and chop avocado, cucumber and mango into pieces of roughly equal size. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing.
- Combine couscous, chopped avocado, cucumber, and mango in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to distribute evenly. Taste and add more salt as needed.