This salad doesn't get any easier! I whipped it together in the morning before heading to work and ate it for lunch. Healthy, quick, and tasty. It does taste better after it's had some time to chill, which is why making it in the morning works really well. Alternatively, I have been known to spread a thin layer of cooked couscous on a plate and place in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it quickly.
Couscous is often mistakenly called a grain even though it is actually really small pasta. But, you can use it like you would rice, quinoa, bulgar or farro. The best part about couscous is that it is super easy to make. Just boil some water (or even better, broth), stir in the couscous, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Done!
For this salad, I just added the vegetables I had on hand, so you can modify them as you wish. I do recommend using cucumber and tomatoes at the very least.
The dressing I use is simply olive oil and red wine vinegar with a ratio of nearly 1 to 1. Couscous absorbs a lot of the dressing, so add more vinegar than usual so that the flavor doesn't get lost.
For an extra nutritional punch, I sprinkled in some chia seeds. Chia seeds are great! They are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, protein, and antioxidants. I get mine in the bulk spice section of my co-op, but you can also get them online. They can be used just like flax and have a similar nutritional profile. Chia seeds don't have the weird flavor that flax can have and I like the color that they added to this salad!
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
red onion, diced
green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the water to boil. Stir in the couscous. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Cut up the vegetables and place in a medium bowl. Vary the amounts to your liking so that when tossed with the couscous, you have mostly vegetables in each bite - see the pictures for an example. Don't bother measuring, just start with small amounts and add more if needed.
- Add the couscous to the vegetables along with the basil and chia seeds and toss well.
- In a small bowl, mix the oil and vinegar until blended well. I like to use a battery-powered mini whisk (I think it is originally made for frothing milk).
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir well. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Chill well before serving.