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!
Couscous Mint Salad
For the salad
- 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
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
For the dressing
- 2 1/2 ounces lemon juice
- 2 1/2 ounces orange juice
- 2 1/2 ounces brown rice vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 6 ounces plain yogurt
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 1/2 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.