Pasta salad is such a wonderful meal for hot summer days. Even better is using couscous instead of traditional pasta. Couscous is the less known pasta miracle. It cooks quickly and doesn’t need to boil the whole time. Perfect for meals in a hurry or hot days when you don’t want to boil water longer than necessary.
Our summer schedule is nearing an end to the craziness. Afternoon swim practice is over and we also are done with evening swim meets. Just two more days of morning practice and the City Meet Saturday morning. This was a perfect meal for one of our busy days this week. It is easy to prepare earlier in the day, pop in the fridge and then pull out whenever you are ready to eat.
This is also a versatile recipe. You can easily switch out to whatever vegetables you enjoy or protein of choice. Leave the chicken out and make it vegetarian. We happened to grill a whole chicken earlier and had the leftover breast meat. I also used our carrots and tomatoes fresh from the garden. Nothing says yummy like a rainbow of red and yellow tomatoes or red, yellow and purple carrots! After all, we eat with our eyes!
I used a couscous blend from Trader Joe’s that contains tri colored couscous, mini chickpeas, orzo and quinoa. It was a nice way to add a little extra nutrition, but regular couscous would certainly work as well.
The lime vinaigrette is what brings it all together. The lime gives you the acidic aspect, the honey provides sweetness and the coarse mustard extra flavor and texture. The best part, you don’t really need to use all the vinaigrette (unless you like your salad extra saucy) so you have leftovers for another salad. The boys really enjoy this salad dressing.
Couscous Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
1 1/4 c. pearl (Israeli) couscous
1 3/4 c. water
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. black beans
2 c. diced chicken
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbs. lime juice (about one lime)
Zest of a lime
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. coarse mustard
2 Tbs. chopped chives
1/2 c. canola oil
Bring the water to a boil in a small pan. Add the couscous, return to a boil and then cover. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. When done fluff it with a fork and put in a large bowl. Add the carrots, black beans, chicken and tomatoes.
For the vinaigrette put everything in a blender except for the oil. Blend until combined. While still blending slowly pour in the oil to allow it to create an emulsion.
Pour some of the vinaigrette on the salad, enough to stir in and make sure the couscous does not stick. Cover the salad and place in the fridge to chill (can also be served warm if desired). Once ready to serve add as much vinaigrette as desired.
Yields 6 servings