It's that time of year! The time to bring out that salad cookbook and starting thinking light and healthy. I don't want to hear anyone groaning over the idea of eating light and healthy! Healthy meals can be satisfying and full of big bold flavours that will make you forget all about your idea, and simply enjoy delightful summer cuisine. Sure this time of year people naturally begin to think about eating better in order to feel confident with their body in minimal summer clothing, but I think about how much easier it is to eat healthier in the summer. Think of all the wonderful flavours that appear in the summer, from seasonal fruit and vegetables, to having a full herb garden growing in your backyard. It's just so much more simple to add flavour to a meal this time of year, and honestly, who wants to eat a great big carb-filled meal in the heat anyway?
This couscous salad is great for a snack and even better as a side dish for fish or chicken. Couscous is tiny little pieces of pasta, so you will feel satisfied after eating it, but because couscous is best friends with vegetables and herbs, it can easily become an extremely healthy dish! Couscous is super simple to make and is very versatile allowing for you to experiment with all different types of flavours. I got this recipe from Williams Sonoma but altered it slightly to have not only freshly chopped mint, but parsley as well. Next time you're at the grocery store, take a look in the prepared foods section to get ideas on what to add to your next homemade couscous. Experiment!
Tip: Use bought roasted red peppers (jarred and soaked in oil) instead of roasting your own. Keep the jar handy in your fridge to add to other recipes.
Tip: For a beautiful presentation, spoon a large scoop of couscous in the centre of a plate, and rest a piece of chicken or fish on top. Garnish with fresh herbs. You'll be sure to impress your friends serving this up!
2 cups water
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups instant couscous
1 1/2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled and seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint and parsley
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange zest
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1. In a saucepan over high heat, combine the water, the 1 tsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp of the salt and bring to a boil. Pour in the couscous stirring constantly, then remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. The liquid will be fully absorbed and the couscous will have plumped.
2. Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl. Using a fork, fluff the couscous grains to separate them. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, chopped mint and parsley, orange juice, orange zest, the 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Mix gently but well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.