A light summer salad that is quick, simple and very delicious. If you are tired of the daily green salads, try this Mediterranean couscous salad instead.
Let us talk cheat days!
We all have cheat days, whether we like to admit it or not. Cheat days serve so many purposes and they make the grueling diet and excercise regimes more bearable.
Diets have never been for me because I love food toooooo much. I know that depriving myself of oooey gooey cheese or yummy starchy potatoes will never work. I am willing to bet that you are the same way.
I do portion control and eating right all week. Sunday, on my calendar, is always circled as cheat day! On cheat days, I make sure to eat whatever strikes my fancy! You would be correct in assuming that cheese and potatoes are heavily involved.
The biggest advantage that cheat days have for me is motivation! All week, I tend to eat right and healthy. That includes food that are completely devoid of flavor or taste like spinach, carrots, brown rice, arugula salad, quinoa, tofu….
….and the dreaded OATMEAL!
How is THAT for motivation!!
Where does the Mediterranean Couscous Salad fall? Is it healthy or is it a “Cheat Day Feast”?
I think it is on the healthy side, but, if you load it with Feta Cheese and some potatoes, it will definitely count as a cheat day feast. This recipe works great with summer vegetables. In my recipe I only used green pepper, tomatoes and yellow squash. However, you can add corn, zucchini, broccoli, butternut squash, beets and even peas.
The internet is a fun place to have a debate. It has always been my believe that couscous is mainly a Middle Eastern staple. However, foodies have informed me that couscous is widely used in North African Cuisine, Greek cuisine and even Italian cuisine.
This recipe makes use of the beaded variety of Couscous or also knows as Israeli Couscous. For this type of salad, the beaded variety holds better. Normally, I follow the instructions that come with the couscous on how to cook it. For this Mediterranean Couscous Salad recipe, I decided to try something different.
The box calls for sauteing and then adding water to the couscous. Normally that works great. In my version, though, I went the pasta cooking way. Boiling water and then dumping the couscous in it makes them very soft and easy to digest. Also, there is little oil in it and most of the nutrients remain in the Mediterranean couscous salad.
I think the star of the Mediterranean Couscous Salad turned out to be the cherry tomatoes. They combination of tangy tomatoes with the couscous was magical. Roasting them before putting them into the Mediterranean Salad.
What is your favorite cheat day food?
How tomake Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Mediterranean Couscous Salad
For the Couscous
- 2 cups pearl couscous
- 1 green pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 squash
- 1/4 cup red onion , finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt for the vegetables
- 1/2 tsp sea salt to cook the couscous
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for the vegetables
- 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil for boiling the couscous
- 1/2 cup Feta Cheese (Vegan Alternative – Extra Firm Tofu soaked overnight in Lemon Juice and Garlic. Or Extra Firm Tofu soaked overnight in saltwater or Miso)
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- Water for boiling the couscous
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut all the vegetables roughly and place in a mixing bowl (except the onions)
- Add oil, salt, peppercorns and oregano to the vegetables
- Allow to marinate for about 5 minutes
- On a baking sheet, spread the vegetables and place in the oven
- Bake for about 15 minutes
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous
- In a large saucepan, fill halfway with water
- Add 1/2 tsp of salt and the 1/2 tsp of olive oil
- Bring to a boil and then add the couscous
- Cook until the couscous is slightly translucent or easily crushed in a finger pinch. Will probably take about 10 minutes depending on your stove.
- Drain the couscous and set aside
- Remove the vegetables and allow to cool for about 5 minutes
- Chop the vegetables finely, including the garlic clove
- In a medium saucepan, add 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil and heat for 20 seconds
- Add the red onions and stir for about 3 minutes
- Add the vegetables and couscous
- Stir gently until all the ingredients are well mixed
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- In a mixing bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard
- Whisk well with a spoon until well blended
- To plate the Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Add the vinaigrette to the couscous and stir well but gently
- Top with Feta cheese and squeeze some fresh lemon juice and coriander.
- Serve the Mediterranean Couscous Salad immediately. Also tastes great the next day