I adore Israeli Couscous. Perfect little pearls… anyways I was inspired to cook with them ever since I had them a few years ago at “The Lake”; a huge cabin my cousin’s family rents out for a week or so in the summer which is on a lake a few hours south of Indianapolis. I remember an aunt of my cousin’s would make glorious dinners for everyone (20+ people) and I distinctively remember having an Israeli Couscous salad. I don’t remember what was in it or how she made it, but damn… it was worth drooling over. Well, when I was home… ages ago, I picked up some Israeli Couscous at the Chequamegon Food Co-op (I bet you can’t say it correctly, unless you’ve been up north). Try: “Sha-wa-ma-gen” with long a’s… Anyways, it’s taken me a while to get around to using it. So last week I decided to just make up my own Israeli Couscous Salad and I am so glad that I did!
This is a chilled dish that I serve as a main, but can be a side as well (just serve less). It’s very fresh and full of flavor, just what I was in the mood for with the news breaking heat we’d been having. Who knew Minneapolis got to 100 degrees in the summer… not this girl! I’ve survived, barely. I think I was sweaty for a few days straight… gross. Back to my dish! This is easy to prepare, no sweating necessary 🙂
Serves 4 (one large 1 cup)
1 cup dry Israeli couscous + chicken/vegetable stock to boil it in
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp reserved cooking liquid
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cut into cubes
1/2 cup cucumber, cubed
2 tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the couscous in 1 1/2+ cups liquid, I used “Better than Bouillon” paste in water. Cook it according to package instructions. Mine seemed to cook faster than 10-15 minutes, which is what I found to be the cooking time online. Just check it periodically. Drain it, but keep at least 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid.
While the couscous is cooking you can prepare your other ingredients. Combine all the vegetables, oil, lemon juice, reserved cooking liquid, and herbs. Add the finished couscous, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or until chilled. Serve it with a little mint on top, as always salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!
I like this because it’s not like your average cold pasta salad… using a different grain is a nice twist.
*Some more add-ins could be kalamata olives, raisins, artichokes…
Calories: 254 Fat: 7g (3g saturated) Fiber: 3g Protein: 8g Sodium: 250mg