The majority of August was a relief from the intense heat of July. That heat and humidity are back in full force this week, and I did my best to come up with a dinner that used as little cooking as possible. This is a quick couscous salad with lots of fresh herbs, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and pea shoots. It is a meal in itself, but would be an excellent picnic side or bed for some juicy grilled chicken or sausage.
I happened to have couscous in my pantry (plus it is so quick cooking), but this would also be great with other small pastas like Israeli couscous or orzo, or with another grain like quinoa. In an effort to minimize my heat in the kitchen, I didn’t use any cooked vegetables but roasted or grilled vegetables would be delicious too. I riffed off this parsley sauce, but used scallions as well and upped the quantity.
All of the vegetables and herbs in this salad are from my Potter Hill CSA share this week except the cucumber, which I bought separated from Paul. The rest of the share this week was a baby head of romaine lettuce, celery, 2 lbs of large tomatoes, microgreens, carrots, kale, and mint.
Lettuce and tomatoes went into an epic BLT with Short Creek bacon (order some this week!!!!). I’ve also been eating tomatoes my absolute favorite way: on top of toast slathered with mayo, with salt and pepper. If you haven’t made these greens with yogurt yet then that is your kale plan (if you have made this…it is still your plan). This marinated celery salad looks like a great use for the giant head, plus some cherry tomatoes and scallions (it’s marinating in the fridge right now for dinner tomorrow!). I don’t have a plan for the carrots this week, but with the greens snipped off they will last in the fridge until inspiration (or hunger) strikes.
Herby couscous salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and pea shoots
Serves 6 as a meal, or 10-12 as a side
- 3 cups couscous
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ cups parsley leaves
- 1 ½ cups chopped scallions
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 ½ lemons)
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 small cucumber (mine was 1 1/2 cups chopped)
- 1 large handful pea shoots and/or microgreens (about 1 cup chopped)
- 3.5 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15.5 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil. Add in the couscous, olive oil, and salt. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Turn on a food processor with the S blade in and drop the garlic cloves through the opening at the top. When the garlic cloves stop bouncing around they are fully minced. Turn the food processor off and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the salt, a few grinds of pepper, parsley leaves, chopped scallions, and lemon juice. Turn the food processor on to chop them, then drizzle in the olive oil so a sauce forms. Alternatively, very finely mince the garlic, parsley, and scallions, then stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Quarter the cherry tomatoes, chop the cucumber, and chop the pea shoots or microgreens. Fluff the couscous with a fork and put it in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas and herb sauce and stir to combine. Add in the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and pea shoots. Stir until they are evenly distributed.