Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Couscous Salad w/ Cucumber, Tomato, Mint, & Goat Cheese

I don't know what it is about couscous...but I love it.  The mouth-feel of it.  The distinct taste of the little pasta granule.  I really do think it has a taste of its own.  Odd?  I find it comforting.

Plus, it's another one of those you-can-do-so-many-things-with-it foods.  You can use it as a side dish or an entree.  And honestly, most often?  I find myself considering it an entree.  Even when I make it my favorite way...simply tossed with a healthy handful (okay two) of freshly grated Parmesan.  I don't know what it is about it, but I have to limit myself from eating a whole pot full that way.  Tossing it with veggies...cooked or raw...is another great way to turn it into a main course salad.  And just by switching up the add-ins and seasoning, it can be a different meal each time.
Funny thing, though.  My husband despises couscous.  Ummmm...what!?  What in the world is there to hate about it?  Really.  I wanna know.  He can't answer why...but it appalls him.  I try to reiterate the fact that he's nuts by insisting that he loves pasta and couscous is simply mini pasta.  Doesn't change his mind.  Weird.  Whatever.  I'm almost too embarrassed to say that this feeling has trickled down and infected my oldest child.  Two and three couldn't care less one way or the other...and nobody feels the love I do.

So yes.  Usually I wind up making a couple servings.  One for me now.  One for me later.  None for them.
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Couscous Salad w/ Cucumber, Tomato, Mint & Goat Cheese

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: boil salad side couscous vegetables
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • ¾ c. couscous
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • ~1 c. sundried tomatoes packed in oil or slow-roasted cherry tomatoes
  • ½-1 seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced
  • ¼ c. fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ~1½ Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of half a lemon
  • olive oil, as needed
  • ~½ c. goat cheese
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Put couscous in a large bowl and pour boiling water over. Add a good drizzle of the oil from the tomatoes, plus ~¼ tsp. salt and a few grates of black pepper. Stir and cover. Let sit for ~5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Once couscous has cooled down a bit, add cucumber, scallions, mint, and lemon juice. Toss. Stir in lemon juice and a bit more oil from the tomatoes or some olive oil. Season and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Dollop goat cheese on top and stir gently. Grate some lemon zest over the top. Enjoy!

adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
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