by Patty Joy
The weather is getting warmer which means that afternoon barbecues and early evening gatherings are quickly approaching. I absolutely love this time of year; the sun filled days are longer, my hikes are later & lengthier, the flowers are blooming in gorgeous & vibrant colors, and the farmers market is filled with my favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables.
During this sunny season, when our social calendars seem to fill up quickly, I crave easy, fresh, healthy and delicious ingredients. It’s essential that I have those “sure fire” recipes in my back pocket!
Sun & salads is my favorite combo. A crisp salad with fresh, in-season ingredients, always hits the spot for me. It’s a meal in one bowl (which I so appreciate) or at least a colorful side to any fare.
Every week for the month of May I will be posting my favorite salads here. I hope they inspire your palate to eat fresh, seasonally, colorfully, and joyfully.
Vegan Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Marinade & dressing
¾c. balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 ½ cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
Salt & frashly ground pepper
3-4 Zucchini, quartered lengthwise
A bunch of asparagus (I personally enjoy the taste of pencil or straw like size asparagus)
1 small basket of cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and seeded
¼ cup basil chiffonade & some extra for garnish
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 TBSP olive oil
1 pound Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)
2 cups vegetable stock heated
Hot water to cover
Pine nuts (as many as you like, I add 1/3 to 1/4 cup) I like to toast my pinenuts in a pan on medium heat. 3 minutes & take them quickly out of the pan so they don’t burn!
Feta cheese (as much as you like) adding the cheese will take this vegan recipe to vegetarian.
1 bag of Baby Spinach (if you want to add some crunch & make it a salad)
The marinade & dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and garlic, slowly add the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and freshly group pepper. The consistency will be on the thicker side. Poor ½ the marinade over the vegetables and let sit at room temperature for 15 min. or so. Preheat the grill. Remove the veggies from the marinade and grill until they are cooked through. Stand next to the grill and watch the vegetables carefully, turning them as needed. I personally like my veggies with a little bite or aldente. Once cooked, cut the zucchini, peppers, asparagus into ½ inch pieces, & cut the tomatoes in half. Set them aside as you start you couscous.
Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and stir. Toast it until it is golden brown. Below are the before & after pics to give you a guideline.
Once the couscous is toasted, cover it with the 2 cups of hot vegetable stock, and hot water. The couscous absorbs water so cover it a lot; you are going to drain the liquid after it is cooked (think of it like pasta).
Cook the couscous until it is aldente, about 10 minutes, but always taste them to make sure they are your desired consistency. Drain well, place couscous in a large serving bowl, and add all your chopped veggies, herbs, optional pine nuts & feta cheese & toss with the remaining dressing. I add my dressing slowly. Some palates enjoy more or less dressing than others.
Serve immediately, at room temperature or store in the refrigerator and eat chilled. Honestly, this recipe is so delish, it doesn’t really matter at what temperature you eat it!
We enjoy it as a main dish, or over some baby spinach with an extra drizzle of balsamic dressing! Refrigerate & enjoy over the next few days. I hope you enjoy this salad at your next gathering! I promise it won’t disappoint!
* I create my recipes by reading ingredient lists, reviews, and then compiling all of my research into one scrumptious recipe to fit my needs and taste buds. This recipe comes mostly from Bobby Flay, with a few changes and add ons.
Enjoy, and Eat Colorfully!
More Sun & Salads Recipes