I used to be a food service manager for a grocery store called Wild Oats. It was an all-natural store, so the ingredients and choices were always first class. We would make some kick-ass salads in the deli department, and this couscous salad reminds me of some of the flavors we used.
I miss those days working in retail. It can be hard trying to keep every customer happy, but we were pretty good at what we did. I can’t complain, though, given that being a stay-at-home dad is an awesome gig. I think it’s harder than working in the store, though…there I would clock in and clock out. Now I clock out when my eyelids droop and clock in when a tiny foot kicks me in the ribs first thing in the morning.
But I digress…let’s talk about salads. I like green leafy salads, but I prefer pasta and grain salads. They pack loads more flavor and can last three days in the fridge. A leaf salad is pretty much sunk two hours later.
Couscous is made from semolina and is used widely throughout the world. It makes a great filler and base for stews, and almost always accompanies a main meal. I mixed carrots, raisins and dried apricots through the couscous, and then dressed it with a yogurt and honey dressing. Don’t forget the fresh mint, which is crucial to the flavor and gives it that summery Moroccan feel. You could eat this salad as a main course or it makes a great side for a potluck or a barbecue – it’s fresh and light, and the citrus yogurt dressing makes the whole thing go kaboom!
- 2 cups Israeli couscous, cooked and cooled
- 6 ounces diced onion
- 6 ounces diced carrots
- 3 ounces raisins
- 3 ounces dried apricots, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 2½ ounces lemon juice
- 2½ ounces orange juice
- 2½ ounces brown rice vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 6 ounces plain yogurt
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2½ ounces olive oil
- In a large bowl combine the couscous, onion, carrots, raisins, apricots, oil and mint. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the lemon and orange juice, vinegar, honey, yogurt, salt, pepper and olive oil until well mixed.
- Add the dressing to the couscous a little at a time until you get it as moist as you desire. Any leftover dressing is great for other salads.
- Serve at once or store in the fridge until ready to use.