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We love this salad: it's quick, simple, and tasty. It's endlessly changeable. It's going to be a standard at our house this summer.
  • SALAD:
  • 3/4 cups dried pearl (Israeli) couscous, about 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 1 1/2 ounces arugula
  • 1/4 English (seedless) cucumber
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled, about 1/4 cup
  • DRESSING:
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • small dash honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

This quick arugula couscous salad is great on its own, and also provides a sort of blueprint for a summer of good eating. First, let me describe how I make this simple grains-and-greens salad, and then I’ll list some variations.

 

start with the couscous

In a small saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain well.

make the dressing and add the couscous

In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, and honey together until they are well blended. Add salt, garlic, and basil, whisk again. Add the drained couscous to the dressing, stir to mix well, and let stand at least 5 minutes, to let it cool a bit.

prep veggies

Meanwhile, prepare the greens and veggies. If you are using baby arugula, leave the leaves whole; if you have larger leaves, tear them into bite-sized pieces. Peel, de-seed, and chop the cucumber.

finally combine

To finish the salad, add cucumbers and arugula to the couscous, and toss again. Top with the crumbled feta cheese.

variations and substitutions

This salad is incredibly flexible; use what you have on hand! The basic formula here is greens + grain + mild or fruity + salty. You can change any one part, or change them all. Use leftovers, if you have them; this salad is a perfect base for improvisation.

  • substitute cooked grain for the couscous (we like barley)
  • sub a small pasta like orzo for the couscous
  • punch it up with fresh herbs: add them to the dressing (omit dried basil)
  • sub slivered apple for the cucumber; add a handful of nuts
  • add dried cranberries
  • sub shavings of Parmesan for the feta cheese
  • sub romaine or mixed lettuces for the arugula
  • use this salad as a base for a cooked protein (think salmon or chicken)
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