Tender Couscous, Crunchy Vegetables and Vinaigrette
- Servings: 6.
I always keep instant couscous on hand to make a quick side dish or salad. While traditional couscous is made in a steamer and takes both time and technique to perfect, instant couscous is a perfect alternative -- plus it cooks in only five minutes. You can purchase couscous by the box -- Near East is an excellent brand. But for a better value you can buy organic couscous from many bulk grocers, especially organic and natural food markets.
This salad can be made with any favorite vegetables you may have on hand but it is best with ones that have texture and crunch such as raw red or green peppers, diced red onion, raw fennel, or blanched haricots verts. It's wonderful served with roasted meats, chicken or poached shrimp.
- 1 10 oz. box of instant couscous (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup diced seedless cucumbers or kirbies, peeled if the skins are thick
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions
- 1/2 cup canned chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- In a large mixing bowl combine the couscous, boiling water and olive oil. Quickly stir with a fork and cover the bowl with a pot cover or large plate so that the steam stays in the bowl.
- Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork to break up the grains.
- Let cool to room temperature or place in the refrigerator to chill.
- While the couscous is chilling, prepare the vegetables.
- Just before you're ready to serve, combine the couscous with all the chopped ingredients. Toss gently to combine.
- Add the vinaigrette and toss again.
- Serve immediately.
Red Wine Vinegar Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl combine the vinegar with the mustard, salt and pepper. Using a fork, stir until the salt is dissolved and the mustard completely mixed.
- Add the olive oil and whisk with the fork until it has combined with the vinegar.
- Add immediately to the salad. If it sits for a while, re-mix it before adding to the salad because if it has separated back into oil and vinegar the couscous grains may absorb it unevenly.