Summer Coucous Salad

My church is full of good cooks. Some are actual noteworthy chefs in our city (small church, I don’t know how we got so lucky) and others seem to have the knack for deliciousness all on their own, surely a skill developed by years of cookbook reading and kitchen work. At our recent summer camp there were several amazing quinoa and/or couscous salads. This was one of them, and oh was it yummy. Thanks for the recipe, Jen!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous, uncooked
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 green onions, white and green parts chopped
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup reduced fat feta cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and let stand for five minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, red pepper, slat, paprika, and pepper. Set aside.

Add the chopped green onions, basil, tomatoes, lemon zest and feta cheese to the cooled couscous and toss. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir or toss until combined. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

**I couldn’t be bothered by low sodium or reduced fat options this time around. Bring on the salt and fat! At least, today. Tomorrow I might change my mind.

101 Salads: The One with Quinoa and Tomatoes

salad2I made this two different ways: once with lime juice and cilantro and again as written, with lemon juice and parsley. I much preferred the first version (with lime juice and cilantro). It may be that I just don’t care for parsley, but I didn’t finish even a small bowl of the lemon and parsley version. I would make this again if I wanted to use up some quinoa, but I’m not in a big hurry to.

Cook and cool quinoa. Toss with olive oil, loads of lemon juice, tons of parsley, some chopped tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts (optional).

101 Salads: The One with Cucumbers and Mustard

salad1This salad takes just a bit of planning ahead. It reminded me why trying 101 salads is a good idea: I would likely not have come up with this combination on my own, but I really liked it. I made mine quite mustardy (about 1:1 vinegar and mustard), and I think next time I make it I will make the vinegar to mustard ratio a little higher (um, if that means more vinegar, less mustard; I don’t claim to remember everything I learned in math class).

Slice cucumbers thin (if they’re fat and old, peel and seed them first), toss with red onions and salt, then let sit for 20 to 60 minutes. Rinse, dry, dress with cider vinegar mixed with Dijon mustard; no oil necessary.

101 Salads: The One with Tomatoes and Soy Sauce

tomato

 

This one was a good reminder of what this project is: simple salads. It tastes pretty much how you’d expect it to taste — tomatoes, soy sauce. Definitely a side item, but so quick to toss together.

Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil, and basil or cilantro.

101 Salads: The One with Carrots and Blueberries

carrots and blueberries

Another gem. Easy, interesting, pretty. I really liked the variety of taste and textures in this one.

Grate carrots (I used already shredded from Trader Joe’s), toast some sunflower seeds (again, already toasted; I used unsalted), and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of black pepper.

 

Grains and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Kale

kaleSo this isn’t technically one of the 101 simple salads, but it is a salad and it is simple. Also it is delicious, and I eat it a lot in the summertime. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked brown rice (or today I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend)
  • 1 to 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (1 can will do just fine)
  • 2 cups chopped raw kale
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • handful of chopped green onions or fresh chives
  • handful basil leaves, chiffonade (I always forget this, and it’s still tasty)
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil (I usually go really scant)
  • juice of one lemon
  • (sea) salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss together.

 

101 Salads: The One with Bean Sprouts

Bean sproutsA while ago (maybe two summers ago?) I came across an article titled “101 Simple Salads for the Season.” I’ve tried a few here and there, but I haven’t had a system to remember which ones I’ve liked. I am going to again start making my way through. My goal, of course, is to eventually try all 101, but I am not putting any time limits on it. I’ll keep track of my thoughts here. 

So this salad is no. 6: Sichuan Slaw. I could also call it “I had to stop myself from eating a half pound of bean sprouts in one sitting.” But at the same time, a little goes a long way. This was a good one.

The recipes are minimalist in that they just give general suggestions: amounts are up to us, I guess. This time I started with about 2 cups of bean sprouts, and it made about three servings (or a really small side dish for a potluck). I did not have celery or a chili, but I imagine those would only make it better. I did have basil, mint, and cilantro, and the trio combination was delish.

Toss bean sprouts, shredded carrots and celery, minced fresh chili, soy sauce, sesame oil and a bit of sugar. Top with chopped peanuts and chopped basil, mint and/or cilantro. (The full trio is best.)