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)

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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)

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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

Directions:

  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.

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Sundried Tomatoes, Olives & Pine Nuts from Veganangela

Go Vegangela! Go Vegangela! Go Vegangela!

I might be making this once a week for the rest of the summer–or at least as long as the asparagus is SO beautiful. Have you noticed? Seriously.

Image courtesy of Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Sundried Tomatoes, Olives & Pine Nuts

Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large bunch asparagus, stalks cut off and cut into ½” pieces
  • ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil (about 8 sundried tomatoes), plus 2 tbsp oil (reserved to use in dressing)
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ¾ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup tbsp toasted pine nuts
Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp reserved oil from sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes; drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and quinoa to a boil over medium-high heat.Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.
  4. Steam the asparagus for 2 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Transfer the asparagus to a colander and rinse under ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. When cool cool, add the quinoa, asparagus, sundried tomatoes and olives, and toss gently to combine. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve.

 Original post, here.

Thai-Inspired Cucumber Salad with Roasted Spiced Chickpeas by Oh She Glows

Have I sung “Summertime” to you, yet?  Oh, yes… ok… well, on to the recipe.  And thank you, Oh She Glows!

By the way… check out the Roasted Spiced Chickpea recipe, below the salad recipe. Oh.  These are going in a dish at my next gathering.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thai-Inspired Cucumber Salad with Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

Ingredients (3 servings)

    Dressing

    • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
    • 1.5-2 tablespoons natural cane sugar, to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

    Salad

    • 2 medium field cucumbers
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 cup diced red onion
    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
    • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
    • Roasted spiced chickpeas (click for recipe)

    Instructions

    1. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and adjust to taste. Feel free to add more sweetener if you prefer. Set aside.
    2. Peel cucumbers, slice off the ends, and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon (see photo in post if necessary). Slice halves into 1/8-inch “half moons” and toss into a large bowl. If your cucumbers are really big you can slice the half-moons in half as well.
    3. Dice the red pepper and red onion and add into bowl. Roughly chop cilantro and add into bowl. Pour in all the dressing and toss to combine. Let this salad sit for about 30 minutes in the fridge, tossing every 10 minutes or so to help the dressing soak in.
    4. Meanwhile, prepare the roasted chickpeas (if desired). Recipe follows.
    5. Portion into bowls and top with peanuts and optional roasted chickpeas. Serve immediately.

    Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

    Yield: 1.5 cups chickpeas or 3 (1/2 cup) servings

    Ingredients:

    • 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked)
    • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a medium baking sheet with a couple pieces of paper towel.

    2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and place onto paper towel. Add a couple paper towels on top and roll the chickpeas around until completely dry. This helps them crisp up in the oven.

    3. Add the chickpeas into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the oil until coated. Now stir in the rest of the seasonings.

    4. Discard paper towel and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Add chickpeas back onto the baking sheet.

    5. Roast at 400F for 20 minutes. Give the pan a gentle shake to stir the chickpeas and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until golden and lightly charred on the bottom. I roast for a full 40 minutes because I like them on the crispy side, but keep an eye on them as oven temps vary.

    6. Cool for 5 minutes or so and then top on your salad. They will lose their crispness quickly so these are best enjoyed immediately. You can also freeze the chickpeas once fully cooled and reheat them in the oven for 5 minutes or so to bring back the crispness.
    Original post, here.