Saturday, September 22, 2012

Israeli Couscous Salad: The Only Picnic Salad I Ever Liked

When I go to potlucks, I normally pass on every sort of salad.  Potato salad?  No.  Macaroni salad?  No.  Three bean salad?  Oh hell no.  If it didn't have lettuce in it, I wasn't biting.  Literally.

So imagine my surprise at finding a salad I not only liked, but was wild over.  I was introduced to this sweet little dish by Julie Schmale during the Sixth Annual Camping Event Not To Be Named.  Since this weekend was the Eighth Annual Camping Event Not To Be Named, and since Julie just sent me this link, I thought I'd share this delicious dish with you.  I love this dish.  Love it.

From Cooking with Trader Joes.

Beckie's Israeli Couscous Salad

The Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic (or use 1 cube frozen Crushed Garlic )
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sugar

1 box Trader Joe's Israeli Couscous (found in the pasta/rice aisle)
1/3 cup unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup  thinly sliced fresh basil
2 oz Lite Feta cheese, crumbled or 2 oz Crumbled Feta (regular or fat free)

1.) Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2.) Follow cooking instructions on the Israeli Couscous box.  Add cooked couscous to the bowl containing the dressing. Toss with the dressing and let it cool (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  The couscous will absorb the dressing as it cools.
3.) Add the almonds, cranberries, and basil. Toss the feta cheese in lightly. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 4

If you don't have Israeli couscous, substitute 1 1/2 cups of dried orzo or TJ's Harvest Grains. Cook until al dente, drain and then add to the dressing.
If you don't have fresh basil, substitute fresh parsley (or a combination of both) . If you don't like almonds, substitute toasted pignoli nuts.

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And because the Camping Event was this weekend, here's some pics from my short visit with the friends.  Make sure you get out this year!

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