Savory Israeli Couscous Salad

Many times, couscous has a combination of both salty and sweet. For this particular recipe, I wanted something that erred on the side of savory, and got all of its sweetness from balsamic, red bell pepper, and tomato. As a result, this is a quick, savory, wonderful salad that works as both a side-dish and as an entree.

I did not add additional salt to this recipe (the last ingredient, below). Instead, the dressing stood up with all of the salt in the bullion cube that I used to flavor the couscous. If you are using a no-salt bullion, you may want to add salt, at the end. Always taste the salad before adding salt.

This recipe is homage to two friends and a favorite restaurant: my friend Nikki, who reminded me of grain salad, today, by sharing this incredible Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad recipe (thank you NYT); Donika, who has mastered the sweet-savory couscous salad; and Silly Goose, the wonderful restaurant that I first went to with Donika, to sample its couscous and goose juice. Yay, Nashville-Philly connection!

Savory Israeli Couscous Salad

2015-05-30 15.46.20Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 (entree); 4 (side-dish)


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c Israeli couscous
  • 1/2 vegetable bullion
  • 3 c water
  • 1 medium roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 pitted olives, sliced (I used garlic-stuffed, but any will do)
  • 1 T balsamic dressing
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • fresh ground pepper and salt, to taste


  1. Toast the couscous on the stovetop by adding to a hot saucepan, the olive oil and couscous.
  2. Stir and coat the couscous with oil, and continue to toast on medium-high heat, until golden in color (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the bullion and stir.
  4. Then, turn up the heat to high, add the water, cover, and bring the couscous to a boil.
  5. When the couscous boils, uncover and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes. You want your couscous a little on the less-than-al-dente side, because you will not rinse it in cool water (to preserve the flavor that you added with the bullion). Instead, cook it most of the way, and then drain all the excess water.
  6. Spread the couscous in a wide and shallow bowl (to encourage cooling) and add the additional ingredients.
  7. Toss the entire mixture and serve.
  8. This is best at room temperature, but can also stand up to some refrigeration.

Note, if making this ahead of time: If you are going to store it, leave off the balsamic dressing and additional balsamic vinegar, and add when you are serving. Otherwise, the spinach will wilt and the couscous will absorb all of the vinegar and oil (making your salad dry).


Super Simple Spring/Summer Salad

This is the simplest salad that I know. My mother used to make this, but also included the now-debatablyendangered hearts of palm, during the summer when tomatoes and avocados were at their bests. It’s a bit early for this salad, and, to my complete horror, I almost missed this avocado (sorry that I didn’t use a more beautiful one in the pic–it was my last).

I have to remember that hydration can come in the form of food, not just by drinking the prescribed numbers of glasses of water. So, come ON hydration!

Super Simple Spring/Summer Salad

2015-05-28 13.02.27Prep-time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 2 (as entrees), 2-4 (as side dish)


  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2-3 T balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Serve immediately or marinade for up to 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes or so.

Gorgeous (Nearly) All Green Salad – Avocado, Asparagus, Grapefruit and Baby Spinach

The asparagus has been amazing, this year. I see it on a ton of menus, and every time I find it, even in the most “regular” of grocery stores, the spears are thin, tender, and gorgeous. Yay asparagus. For this recipe, I sauté them, very lightly, with some olive oil and lemon, as a means of brightening them and making them stand out against the dressing.

Also, the vinaigrette for this is made with mustard and fresh grapefruit juice. I love this so much, for a variety of salads, but particularly with avocado. Delicious! It is one of the ways that I am using my mother’s Christmas gift to me: a NutriBullet. I poo-pooed this contraption before getting it–because, my heart belongs to the Vitamix that I don’t yet have. But, I’m happy to say that I’ve found a variety of uses for this wonderful contraption–it does a really wonderful job for not only smoothies, but salad dressing, soups, and more. Anyway, enough with my testimony! On to the recipe…

(Nearly) All Green Salad

2015-05-24 14.27.43Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: as entree, 2 people; as side-dish, 4 people

Salad Ingredients:

  • sauted asparagus
    • 10-15 spears asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 t olive oil
    • 1/2 lemon
    • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1/4 fresh red grapefruit
  • 1/2 small Haas avocado
  • 2 T roasted pumpkin seeds

2015-05-24 14.20.14Dressing Ingredients:

  • juice of 1/4 fresh red grapefruit
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 T dried herbs (your choice)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t fresh ground pepper
  • 2 T olive oil


  1. Heat, on high, a small sauté pan. When hot, add olive oil.
  2. Add asparagus, and quickly move around the pan to coat with oil. Add salt and pepper and then squeeze lemon over the asparagus.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until bright green and lemon juice is completely evaporated.
  4. Pull off of the fire and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  5. Separate the flesh of 1/4 of a grapefruit (from the “salad” ingredients list) in a large bowl. This is a bit messy, but try to keep the sections into chunks. There will be some juice that settles in the bottom of the bowl. Pour that juice into the blender cup.
  6. Make the dressing by first squeezing the other 1/4 grapefruit directly into the blender or blender cup. Feel free to include some of the grapefruit flesh.
  7. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the blender cup and blend until completely emulsified and frothy (will be a light yellow and completely opaque). Set aside.
  8. Put all of the salad ingredients into a salad bowl and drizzle the dressing over it (dress as heavily as you desire–I tend to use only about 1/4 of the dressing, but keep the rest in the fridge for additional salads over the next week.

2015-05-24 14.27.55Serving hint: I like to keep the salad somewhat pristine as I put on the table. Toss the salad before actually loading onto plates. The avocado and the grapefruit will break up and make the salad even more creamy than the dressing, alone.

Knife Skills: How To Dice, Julienne, Brunoise & Batonnet by Jacob Burton from Stella Culinary

Every now and again, I try to brush up on my knife skill knowledge. I still don’t have the best cutting techniques, but I’m always trying to work on them. Stella Culinary has some great instructional videos, to this end. Today, just a review of those little cuboids and cuboe: julienne, brunoise, and batonnet.

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad

2015-05-20 19.16.51Oh this salad! This salad is one of the most beautiful salads that can ever exist! It is wonderful in the winter. It is incredibly delicious right. now. I do not peel any of the veggies, in this, and I shred them in my food processor.

The long of the short: it’s shredded raw beet and carrot in a vinaigrette. I suggest marinading these separately, and then putting them together to serve (because the carrot will all become beet colored). The combo color isn’t a bad one, but it is just far more striking if you can clearly delineate which is which.

Also, when grapefruit is in season, I really recommend a grapefruit dressing for this. Today, I used a simple apple cider/balsamic/lemon dressing, which you’ll find below.

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad

Serves: 4-6
Prep-time: 15 minutes + marinading time

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 t dried herbs of choice (I used a combo of rosemary, fennel, basil, and oregeno)
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • pinch of sugar or dash of agave or maple syrup

Salad Ingredients:

  • 6-8 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 large beets, shredded

Additional Suggestions for Garnish:

  • pepitas
  • roasted pine nuts
  • dollop of hummus


  1. Optional step: Grind the dried herbs, pepper, and salt in a mortal and pestle, until herbs are a semi-powder.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients, and set aside.
  3. 2015-05-20 19.17.39Keep carrots and beets in separate glass bowls (beware of plastic for marinading, always-as the acid may leech some of the plastic-but also because of staining), and pour 1/2 of the dressing on top of each.
  4. If serving within a few hours: toss each and let sit for 1o-15 minutes (minimum). Try to toss every 15 minutes or so, until serving.
  5. If serving later or the next day (this keeps, nicely), toss every now and again (try to toss at least 2 times), and store, covered, in the fridge.
  6. Serving: put in a serving bowl as I show, above (carrot on one side, beet on the other).