Asparagus & Couscous Salad

7 May

Asparagus & Couscous Salad

About a month ago a few of us got together to picnic and enjoy the Cherry Blossoms in DC. When a bunch of foodies and girls who love cooking get together we end up with a surfeit of delectable treats that are often even figure friendly. The cherry blossoms were not even in full bloom but the spread at our picnic more than made up for Mother Nature’s shortcomings!

I was especially mesmerized by my friend Alisha’s Couscous Salad as she managed to breathe new life into a dull and often flat tasting dish with fresh and bright flavors. Her tricks included cooking the couscous in chicken broth instead of water and adding a distinct aroma and tang with generous amounts of fresh dill. Asparagus, Couscous Salad

Alisha’s Couscous Salad is the inspiration behind this recipe. I marry tastes and tips from her recipe with my love for adding asparagus to everything this time of the year. This salad comes together in minutes and highlights the season’s best ingredients in a light, healthy and extremely satisfying dish!

Asparagus & Couscous Salad Recipe
Recipe adapted from Alisha Nanan’s Couscous Salad
Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups of whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
Cracked black pepper to taste
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed, cooked and cut into thirds (See note)
8 ounces mini heirloom tomatoes, larger ones cut in halves (See note)
1/3 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese (Use ½ a cup if you like more cheese)
1/3 cup Pitted Kalamata olives, halved (Use ½ a cup if you want more olives)
3 tablespoons of dill, chopped
2 tablespoon of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Notes:

  • You can cook the asparagus by either steaming it or boiling it. Click here for tips on how to cook asparagus.
  • You can substitute the mini heirloom tomatoes with cherry tomatoes.

Method:
1) In a medium sauce pan bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a boil, along with the butter and some salt to taste. When the broth reaches a boil, remove from heat. Pour the dry couscous into the sauce pan and stir well. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes (until all the liquid is absorbed). Fluff with a fork and transfer to the salad serving bowl and set aside to cool.
2) In a small dish whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper (per taste) to make the dressing for the salad.
3) Once the couscous has cooled add the cooked asparagus pieces, heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, dill and parsley to it. Mix together. Now slowly stir in the dressing and toss to ensure that everything is well coated. Taste for salt, pepper and lemon juice and make any necessary adjustments. Set aside for 30 minutes for all the flavors to blend well together. Serve at room temperature.

Meal ideas:
For a complete meal late Spring or early Summer dinner serve this salad with my Roasted Tomato Soup with Truffle Oil & A Herbed Goat Cheese Ball.

4 Responses to “Asparagus & Couscous Salad”

  1. Priyanka May 8, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    I’m making this tonight. The heat in mumbai is killing!!! Could I use packaged couscous?

  2. Priyanka May 8, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    I’m making this tonight. The heat in mumbai is killing!!! Could I use packaged couscous??

    • neharmorarji May 8, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      As long as the package has dry couscous that needs to be cooked you totally can. Please let me know how it turns out.

      • Priyanka May 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

        Some retail strike! The shop that sells this is closed 😦

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