This summer, in an effort to eat healthier I've gotten in the habit of making side salads like this to have around the house. I'll make way more than I need, serve some of it as a side dish for dinner, then put the leftovers in the fridge. Salads like this are great cold and I love having them around any time I want something to munch on between meals. It's a lot easier to avoid junk food when you open the fridge and have a healthy, colorful, ready made snack staring you in the face.
(All the grilled veggies, chopped up and ready to get mixed into the couscous)
One great thing about this recipe is that it made me realize that I actually like peppers! I always thought I didn't care for peppers, but it turns out I just don't like green peppers or raw peppers. Marinated and grilled red/orange/yellow peppers are a completely different story! As a matter of fact, a lot of the peppers went straight from the grill to my mouth!
This is a Bobby Flay recipe that I found on FoodNetwork.com. It has great reviews all around and is incredibly adaptable. It's a perfect summer recipe with all those veggies, and it would make a great veggie drawer clean out recipe if you have vegetables that you need to use up before they go bad. I ended up changing it up quite a bit. Here are my notes on the recipe:
- I ended up using almost the same amount of veggies as the original recipe, but much less couscous. The recipe calls for 1 pound of couscous and I ended up using about 6.3 oz because that was the only package of israeli couscous I could find. I think it works great better with a higher veggie to grain ratio. The directions for cooking the couscous in the recipe were pretty vague, so just use as much couscous as you want, just follow the directions on the package.
- Instead of using water to cook the couscous, use vegetable stock or chicken broth to give it more flavor. I needed about 2 cups of liquid so I used 1 can of chicken broth and a little bit of water to get to 2 cups.
- I added feta cheese because... well... feta makes everything feta.
- The original recipe calls for asparagus which I'm not really a fan of so I left it out and added an extra pepper instead.
- And finally, I'm a complete idiot and somehow managed to forget to add the fresh herbs to the couscous. It's suppose to have basil and parsley in it, which I'm sure would have made the salad even better, but it was still great without it.
Recipe: Adapted from FoodNetwork.com
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 green zucchini, quartered lengthwise
- 1 yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
- 1 orange bell pepper, quartered and seeded
- 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and seeded
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, chopped
- 2 tbls basil chiffonade (stack leaves, roll in a cigar shape and cut crosswise into thin strips)
- 2 tbls cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 package Israeli couscous, prepared according to package directions (See Recipe Notes above)
- Chicken broth or vegetable stock
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and garlic, slowly add the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 the marinade over the vegetables and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the grill. Remove the vegetables from the marinade and grill the vegetables until just cooked through.
- Cut the zucchini and peppers into 1/2-inch pieces, cut the tomatoes in half. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the couscous and toast until lightly golden brown. Cover the couscous with the hot stock/hot water and bring to a boil, cook until al dente and drain well. Place in a large serving bowl, add the grilled vegetables, feta, and herbs and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature