Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recipe: Mediterranean Salad

As a military spouse, I am a member of a fun group called Recipe Club that meets once a month and everyone brings a dish that relates to that month's theme.  Yesterday, our recipe club's theme was Mediterranean.  I am an all-American, very simple tastes, type of girl.  Cheeseburgers, Pizza, Pasta, nothing too fancy.  I normally don't eat Thai or Mexican or Mediterranean foods.  I stick with what I know.  Of course I headed straight to Pinterest to hunt for a recipe and came across this one

I was able to find all the ingredients in my tiny little town and went for it, thinking it would be something I might even like, and I did!  I LOVED it, in fact!  I did make some deviations from the original recipe, so I will post my version here:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) box Israeli pearl couscous (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
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
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 mint, basil, and almonds. Toss to combine and serve. 

My notes: I simmered my couscous for 9 minutes and had no liquid to drain off of it, so I just went straight to my serving bowl.  If the fresh herbs aren't available in your area or you just don't have it on hand, leave them out.  I sampled my dish prior to the adding of the final ingredients once it was at room temperature, and it was DELICIOUS as is.  If you checked out the original recipe from Giada, you'll see it included dried cranberries.  I was not interested in that in the least, nor did I have them or want to purchase them specifically for this recipe, so I omitted them.  Still awesome. 

I feel so great about this recipe!  It is fresh, and pretty simple, even for an amateur like myself.  I feel even better about it, due to that it's something outside my regular comfort zone, and I loved it!  Thank goodness for recipe club, otherwise, I might not have tried this!

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