This is less of a real recipe, and more one variation on a wildly useful template. Whole grains make up an important food group that offers us energy and long-lasting satiety. For this reason, consider preparing a batch of your favorite grain on Sunday, then adding it to meals throughout the week. Even better, turn it into this versatile salad – you’ll squeeze in some fruits and veggies, too!
The equation is simple: your whole grain of choice, a crunchy veggie or two, something sweet, a serving of healthy fat, and a bright dressing. The options are endless. The whole wheat couscous I chose could be switched out for quinoa, farro, or brown rice. Even better, choose a different grain each week and you’ll benefit from all sorts of different micronutrients. Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, snap peas or red onion would all be a welcome addition. I love raisins in this type of salad, and peaches seemed like a good summer choice, but pitted cherries or even segmented oranges would also work well. Finally, for a fat source, try including feta, chopped pecans or pistachios, avocado, or blue cheese.
The salad can be served atop lettuce (like I enjoyed it on Sunday) or alongside a protein such as chicken, fish, or shrimp. It lasts well in the fridge, and is filling, satisfying, and most importantly, delicious!
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup dry couscous
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 small cucumbers, chopped into small cubes
- 2 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
- A few leaves basil, sliced
- Place couscous, raisins, salt and butter in a bowl. Pour over 1 cup boiling water. Cover with a plate and let sit 5 minutes.
- While waiting for couscous, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl.
- After five minutes, fluff up cooked couscous with a fork. Immediately stir in dressing.
- Let couscous sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator until cool.
- Once couscous has cooled, stir in remaining ingredients.
- It’s important to add the dressing while the couscous is still hot, because it absorbs more of the flavor this way. If you find that the salad is a little dry after you add the produce, feel free to stir in a bit more olive oil.