Summer Couscous Salad

Summer Couscous Salad

Are you looking for a refreshing and nutritious summer salad recipe? Look no further! This summer couscous salad is the perfect combination of flavours and textures to satisfy your taste buds. Plus, it's super easy to make and customizable to your liking. Let's dive into the recipe and all its details!

An Interesting Fact

Couscous salad is a dish that features couscous as its main ingredient, along with a variety of other ingredients. Couscous itself has a long history and originates from North Africa, specifically from the Berber people of the region.

Couscous is made from semolina, which is a type of wheat. It is traditionally hand-rolled and then steamed, resulting in small, granular pasta-like grains. This process of making couscous has been practised in North Africa for centuries.

Couscous salad, as we know it today, has evolved from the traditional way of preparing couscous. It incorporates cooked couscous grains as a base and combines them with a variety of vegetables, herbs, spices, and dressings to create a flavorful and refreshing salad.

The exact origin of couscous salad, in its specific salad form, is difficult to pinpoint. However, it is believed to have gained popularity in the Mediterranean region, particularly in countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Israel, where couscous is a staple food. These countries have their own variations of couscous salad, often influenced by their local culinary traditions and ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper. This is the basic dressing.
  3. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the dressing, parsley, mint, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and feta cheese. Mix well.
  4. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Calorie Content and Nutritional Value Breakdown

This summer couscous salad is not only delicious but also nutritious. Here's the breakdown of its nutritional value per serving (assuming 4 servings):

  • Calories: 270
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 8mg
  • Sodium: 397mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 30g
  • Dietary fibre: 3g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 6g

Fun Food Hack

If you want to add some crunch to your salad, try adding some toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds. You can also sprinkle some za'atar seasoning on top for an extra kick of flavour.

Additional Vegetables to Use

Feel free to add or substitute any vegetables you like to this salad. Some great options are:

  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Olives

Substitution List

If you don't have some of the ingredients listed, here are some substitutions you can make:

  • Couscous: quinoa, bulgur, or farro
  • Fresh parsley: cilantro or basil
  • Fresh mint: thyme or oregano
  • Cherry tomatoes: grape tomatoes or diced regular tomatoes
  • Feta cheese: goat cheese or ricotta salata

Serving Size Information

This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving is about 1 and 1/2 cups.

Suggested Pairing

This summer couscous salad pairs well with grilled chicken or fish. You can also serve it as a side dish with burgers or sandwiches. For a vegetarian option, try pairing it with roasted vegetables or a veggie burger.

Dressing Variations

If you want to switch up the basic dressing, here are some variations you can try:

  • Balsamic vinaigrette: replace the lemon juice with balsamic vinegar and add 1 tsp honey for sweetness.
  • Greek dressing: replace the lemon juice with red wine vinegar, add 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives.
  • Tahini dressing: replace the olive oil with tahini paste, and add 1 tbsp honey, and 1/4 tsp cumin.
  • Mustard dressing: add 1 tbsp Dijon mustard and 1 tbsp honey, to the basic dressing.

These dressing variations can add a new twist to your summer couscous salad and make it even more flavorful. Try them out and see which one you like best!

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