Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Herbed Couscous Salad

The short, chilly days of winter are upon us. But as the days begin to lengthen and the sun begins to shine, we can feel the promise of spring and summer on the horizon. Here in Northern California, the cold rainy winters may not be good for tomatoes and stone fruits and other summer delights, but even in the dead of winter, we can get fantastic greens. Greens seem brighter and more alert in the winter, and our bodies are even more eager for the chlorophyll and nutrients that includes! Herbs like mint and parsley are widely available year-round, and full of fresh, clean flavors. Baby wild arugula, peppery and intense, mixes nicely with the herbal notes. This recipe uses the three herbs like greens rather than seasoning, leaving the leaves whole and tossing them with whole wheat couscous for a hearty and refreshing dish. If you are as lucky as we are and you have a mom who preserves her bountiful summer crop of serrano chiles by making a flavorful sambal (chile paste), then by all means, make it as spicy as you like.

Herbed Couscous Salad
Feel free to use any combination of your favorite herbs, also try substituting quinoa, millet or another grain for the couscous.

about 4 cups cooked whole wheat couscous, chilled or at room temperature
about 1 cup packed baby arugula leaves
1 bunch mint, whole leaves removed from stems
1 bunch parsley, whole leaves removed from stems
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt, to taste
sambal or chile paste, 2 tablespoons or to taste

Combine couscous, arugula, mint and parsley in mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate. Whisk together all remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Stir in dressing and taste couscous for seasoning.