Stand out at the next neighborhood cookout or family reunion with this unique side dish. It's made with whole-wheat Israeli couscous, also known as pearled couscous. Other cooked and chilled whole grains can stand in for the couscous, like barley or farro, an ancient Italian grain with a dense, chewy texture and nutty flavor. These grains pair perfectly with an array of in-season vegetables and herbs. A light, refreshing dressing of lemon juice and olive oil keeps the dish heart-healthy.
Makes about 10 servings (3/4 cup each)
2 cups whole-wheat pearled couscous (Note: 2 cups dry couscous yields about 4 cups cooked)
1 10-ounce container grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice ( about 2 whole lemons)
2 to 3 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest (from one lemon)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Add couscous to 4 cups of boiling water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid, then cover.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until water is absorbed.
3. Remove from stove and transfer to large bowl to cool.
4. Combine the cooled couscous with all the other ingredients and toss to blend.
5. Serve refrigerated or at room temperature.
Nutrition information (per serving) 188 calories; 7 g protein; 32 g carbohydrates; 3.5 g fat (0 g saturated); 0 mg cholesterol; 127 mg sodium; 112 mg potassium; 10 mg calcium; 0.3 mg iron; 365 IU vitamin A; 10 mg vitamin C; 4.5 g fiber
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Robyn Flipse is a registered dietitian and cultural anthropologist who has a fascination with what we eat and why. She is a consultant, writer and media spokeswoman on all things related to food, diet and nutrition.