Summer is that time of the year for fresh, zesty and delightful ingredients. No longer you’re craving hearty soups and stews to keep you warm. These days keeping things light is the name of the game. When summer comes I always crave fresh salads and loads of vegetables. I even devoted a whole post to my favorite summer salads so make sure you check it out here. This week I’m adding to that list and I’m going to show you how to make a refreshing and nutritious couscous salad. This salad is so easy to make and only requires a few very simple ingredients.
How To Make Refreshing And Nutritious Couscous Salad
What Is Couscous?
Most people think that couscous is a grain but that’s not true. Couscous is actually pasta made from semolina flour that’s mixed with water. Couscous is therefore not gluten-free. Semolina flour comes from durum wheat. This wheat is very high in protein therefore couscous makes for a filling yet refreshing meal. But in order to maximize the health benefits of couscous make sure when you make couscous salad you opt for the whole-grain variety.
Is Couscous Good For You?
Studies of whole grains have shown to help lower levels of chronic disease. A diet including whole grains has been associated with a lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers. Whole grains also contain antioxidants and durum wheat has comparable amounts of antioxidants to most fruits and vegetables. One serving of whole-grain couscous contains 62 percent of your daily requirement for selenium. Selenium is an important antioxidant mineral with many benefits. It has been linked with having positive antiviral effects, male and female fertility, and decreased risks of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and thyroid disease.
1 cup of couscous also contains 2 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber can be especially beneficial for those trying to control their weight. It works by absorbing water and as it swells in your digestive tract it helps you to feel full. In addition, fiber keeps food moving through your body which can aid in preventing constipation.
Couscous provides a whole range of B vitamins that are vital to your good health. Specifically, it provides such important nutrients as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B6, folate and pantothenic acid. These nutrients are helpful in metabolizing energy, maintaining healthy red blood cells, preventing certain birth defects and keeping your skin, blood, brain, nervous system, heart and immune system functioning optimally. So adding couscous to your salads can boost those healthy properties in your meals.
Couscous Salad Ingredients
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, plus cucumber slices for garnish
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice, plus tomato slices for garnish
3/4 cup finely chopped scallion
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, minced, plus mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
Couscous Salad Directions
In a saucepan combine the broth, the water, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the oil, bring the mixture to a boil, and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and let the couscous stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and let it cool in the pan. In a very large bowl stir together the cucumber pieces, the tomato dice, the scallion, the remaining 1/3 cup oil, the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, and salt to taste and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes. Add the couscous, the parsley, and the mint leaves, stir the salad well, and chill it, covered, for 1 hour. The salad may be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the salad garnished with the mint sprigs and the cucumber and tomato slices.
Makes 8-10 servings
Couscous salad makes a great addition to any meal. You can add it to almost anything. Below I paired it up with some tasty wings and a side of vinegar coleslaw. It also goes well alongside chicken, steak or any fish dish. So have fun with it and experiment.
Have you tried making couscous salad before? What is your go-to summer salad recipe? Share with me in the comments below. I’m always looking for new and fresh recipes to add to my repertoire.
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