Are you the meal planner in your house? Us, too. When meal planning (and cooking!) gives you the blues, freshen up with this colorful salad, originally created by Giada De Laurentiis. Bright fresh herbs, warm paprika and smooth pearl couscous make for a yumma-licious flavor and texture combination. Add grilled protein to make a main dish or serve as a side – you can’t go wrong.
We were lucky enough to have the Jazzercise, Inc. VP of Operations Brad Jones whip this up for us one sunny winter afternoon. Brad is always bringing something tasty into the office, but this time he went big and brought lunch for the whole #fitkrew. Only Brad Jones can turn something as mundane as a workday lunch into a delicious celebration!
Simple enough for weeknight cooking, you’ll want to make this vibrant, versatile dish for your family, to take to work or for a party. You just may find it works delectably well for any and all occasions.
Israeli Couscous & Fresh Herb Salad
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-lb.) box Israeli / pearl couscous or maftoul (or any small pasta)
3 cups chicken stock
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted
salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock, and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.
Once the couscous is room temperature, add the fresh herbs, dried cranberries, and almonds.
Toss to combine and serve.
Do you have a couscous recipe you love? Share the link in the comments!