A few days ago I had to make a salad for a New years eve party. I wanted to break away from the usual salads that I make and looked for a recipe that was totally different. I came across this couscous salad with roasted vegetables and got so excited. I modified the recipe a little bit. I went to the store to get couscous and couldn't find the couscous that I normally get. The store only had Israeli (Jewish) pearl couscous and I decided to give it a try and bought it. Israeli couscous is also called "ptitim" and is a pasta product very similar to the Italian orzo. It is a common side dish in Israel and delicious.
Photo by thebittenword.com
The couscous sold in the Western world are pre-steamed and dried couscous and boiling hot water or stock are added to it and then it should be covered for about 5 minutes. The couscous swells and after 5 minutes the couscous is ready to fluff with a fork and to be served.
Couscous salad with roasted vegetables
2 cups of Israeli pearl couscous or regular couscous
3 cups of boiling hot chicken stock (2 cups for regular couscous)
6 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
3 Tablespoons bought basil pesto
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 medium sized zucchinis, sliced
2 to 3 medium sized yellow squashes, sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into pieces
8 brown mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 cups of butternut cut into cubes
1/2 cup of red onions cut into pieces
2 cups of asparagus cut into pieces
extra-virgin olive oil
*If you prefer broccoli instead of asparagus use broccoli or any other vegetables you like
Put the couscous (Israeli pearl couscous) in a pot and pour over the hot stock and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the stock is absorbed. (You do not have to cook the western style couscous which is pre-steamed and instant.)
Preheat the oven to 400* F. Grease an ovenproof dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the vegetables, except the asparagus in a single layer in the prepared dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are done but still crisp - add the asparagus after the first 10 minutes of roasting and stir the vegetables slightly. When the vegetables are done sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar.
When the couscous are done stir in the extra-virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto to make the couscous moist and fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Add the roasted vegetables to the couscous and mix with the couscous. Add the feta cheese and mix with the roasted vegetables and couscous. This salad can be served warm or cooled down to room temperature and it is delicious served with beef or chicken.
Enjoy this delicious healthy salad.....it is a real joy of life!
Images 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 taken by me