Friday, September 3, 2010

Beat the Heat

Summer heat has finally arrived and with it comes the dilemma: how to prepare dinner without heating up the kitchen! In past summers my family has resorted to blending fruit smoothies paired with crackers and peanut butter! Not a bad combo on a day that is so hot you do not feel like eating anyway (but not something I want every day). So, I started making couscous salad since I prefer vegetarian cooking, especially when it is hot. Couscous salad is a perfect main or side dish and it uses only one pot for 5 minutes on the stove! This salad is light and fresh for that hot summer day, while satisfying hungry appetites and providing plenty of protein.

Recently, my niece, Kate, from Philadelphia stayed with us for a few days, so I served this couscous salad to fit her vegetarian diet. My children give this salad a thumbs up. However, my youngest child states he would give two thumbs up if it was minus the "green things" that he proceeds to pull out. He now knows that the "green things" are called basil and is now more apt to try them now that they grew in our garden.

Let us know what you think!

Happy Cooking (without too much heat!)


Summer Couscous Salad (Dairy)

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups dry couscous (preferably whole wheat, if available)

16 ounces (approx. 2 cups) cherry, pearl or cherry heirloom tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mozarella (I use cherry size)
1/2 cup basil thinly sliced
1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil


In a medium sauce pan, add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of couscous. Stir well and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Cut tomatoes in half.

Cut mozarella the same size as the tomatoes.
Thinly slice basil by stacking the leaves one on top of the other, rolling up and slicing across the leaves to make thin strips.

Add tomatoes, mozarella and basil to cooled couscous. Add olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

Serve at room temperature. Leftover salad from the refrigerator may need additional lemon added for moisture.

This salad is easy to adjust to your taste. For a variation, add toasted pine nuts.

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