Heavy on flavour and light on the stomach, this nutritious salad is the perfect midday solution
The trick to a successful lunch recipe is finding something that’s both filling and light on the stomach. Not always the easiest combination. Add on the need for it to be tasty too, and you’ve really got yourself a challenge.
That’s why for your next lunch we suggest trying out the magic of couscous. An underappreciated pantry item, this staple is so much more than just a stand-in for rice, in fact in parts of Morocco and North Africa it’s the star of the show. When using the traditional method couscous is made from the hard part of durum wheat semolina, the part of the grain that resisted the grinding of the millstone.
The semolina is then sprinkled with water and rolled by hand to form small pellets, sprinkled with dry flour to keep them separate, and then sieved. In North African dishes it is used as the base for sauces and stews – almost akin to pasta – but even while the larger grains have a similar consistency to pasta, they always fall within the grain category. The real blessing of couscous is its simple cooking process. Just salt liberally, pour in boiling hot water and cover it for 5-6 minutes and let the steam work its magic.
This salad recipe draws from a Mediterranean inspiration with a range of vegetables full of fibre and phytonutrients, as you have a delicious midday solution that’s packed with protein and a salad that meets all the requirements to be both light and satisfying
● 1 cup water
● 1 cup instant couscous
● ½ tsp salt
● 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
● ½ cup diced tomato
● ½ cup diced cucumber, seeds removed
● ½ cup diced red bell pepper
● ½ cup chickpeas, cooked
● ¼ cup minced red onion
● ½ cup kalamata olives
● 2 tbsp feta cheese
● 1 tsp chopped parsley
● 1 tsp chopped mint
● 1 tsp chopped basil
● ¼ tsp dried oregano
● 1 tsp lemon zest
● 2 tbsp lemon juice
● 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
● ¼ tsp kosher salt
● ¼ tsp black pepper
● 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
● Bring water, salt, and olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous and stir quickly. Turn off the heat and cover.
● Let couscous stand until tender, 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork and let cool.
● Combine couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, chickpeas, red onion, olives, cheese, parsley, mint, basil, and oregano in a medium bowl.
● Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until a thickened dressing forms.
● Pour dressing over the couscous salad, stir to combine.