Happy Monday all! During the hot summer months, I am always looking for different ways to have a cool pasta salad that highlights local, fresh vegetables I pick up at the Farmer’s Market. I love the chewy, nuttiness of these little pasta balls called Israeli Couscous or Pearl Pasta. I bulked up the veggies in this salad to make it a nice serving size, then, drizzle it with a sweet and tangy lemon balsamic vinaigrette.
You can mix and match using whatever vegetables are in season. This salad is delicious eaten straight from the bowl, but, if you can wait, it delicious chilled and served as a side or over a big bowl of mixed greens. Enjoy!
LEMONY SUMMER VEGETABLE ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD (print it!)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/3 cups Israeli Couscous
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced and halved
- 1 cup summer squash, sliced and quartered
- 1 cup sweet bell pepper, seeded, sliced and diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup green onions, diced
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Prepare the Israeli Couscous according to the package instructions. I “browned” my couscous in 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat, then, added 2 cups boiling water, reduced heat to medium low, covered and simmered for 10 minutes (just enough to allow the water to be absorbed).
2. Meanwhile, I prepped all the veggies and placed them in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the dressing by combining the lemon juice & zest, balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil and garlic.
3. Add the cooked couscous to the vegetables, pour the dressing over the top and toss gently to coat everything. Season with sea salt and pepper, then, allow to chill for 1 hour.
Makes 10 servings, 1/2 cup each, 100% Simply Filling, 4 points+ per serving
Nutritional information per serving calculated at caloriecount.com
STEP – BY – STEP:
Awhile back while browsing the isles at Trader Joe’s, I decided to pick up a box of this Israeli Couscous. I already knew I loved Couscous and this mix made me think of making a salad like my Harvest Grain Salad.
5 points+ for 1/4 of the box which is a pretty good deal to have a big bowl of little pasta balls.
I’ve always heard of people toasting their couscous first so I thought I’d give it a try. I have to admit, it totally made me think I was making Rice – A – Roni (how many of you finished my sentence saying…..”The San Francisco Treat!”?)
The verdict ~ it smelled really good and turns this fantastic brown after about 5 minutes of sautéing it over medium heat in 1 Tbsp. olive oil. However, I am not so sure it really changed the flavor.
While the couscous toasted, I boiled 2 cups of water (not the 1 1/3 cup they asked for because it always evaporates too fast). This totally sped up the process and helped the couscous cook all the way in under 10 minutes.
Rice – A – Roni …..
My Farmer’s market veggies plus the first Patty Pan Squash from our garden!
Yep, my farmer’s market sells sweet purple bell peppers for $1 a lb. ~ they only stay purple if you eat them raw though.
The best way to make you get a lot of pasta in any dish ~ bulk up the veggie crunchiness without adding any points+. If I had corn, I would’ve totally added that too.
Mainly because I wanted a varying texture, I added sweet sun dried tomatoes and green onions for color as my “herb”. You could use basil, parsley, mint…..
Toss the cooked couscous and veggies, then pour the lemon vinaigrette over the top.
Toss, chill and serve.
Perfect as a side dish to take to your next summer picnic or make it a meal by topping this delicious, crunchy, nutty, tangy and sweet lemon Israeli couscous salad over mixed greens.
Thank you all so much for the incredible outpouring of support on my Lessons Learned posted yesterday. You know one reason my tagline is Everyday is an Adventure To Be Healthy is that my journey never ends when I reach my ideal size, weight or look. I see it as though every day I have a choice at each meal/snack to be healthy ~ sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t, but, all that matters is that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on with the next meal/snack. It’s all about the journey and everyday is an adventure to be healthy!
I am so fortunate to have so many friends here and I am glad that I can share all my ups and downs with you all without judgment. I know we are totally going to reach our goals together ~ from now through Labor Day ~ Let’s do this ~ for 1 + month and see how far we get adding up all those little successes each day.