Spring is near! I can just feel it, even though I woke up this morning to freshly fallen snow. At least it was a small amount of snow that will melt quickly. All of my bulbs are starting to break through the ground, and dare I say I see green things outside again???
With the changes in the season, my eating habits change. I feel like I need to shed some of those winter pounds (and this winter provided a lot of extra cushion). Healthier fare and more vegetarian dishes are on the menu around here. This salad is just one example of something that can be made ahead of time and eaten throughout the week for lunch or as a side to something else. We had it last night on top of a bed of baby spinach and with a side of crispy tofu with nutritional yeast. It fills you up without adding a ton of calories. Making the dressing yourself allows you to control how many extra calories and what type of fat you are going to be consuming, too.
So…what do you need to make this? Here ya go:
1 10 oz box Cous Cous
1/2 diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely sliced red onion (if you don’t want large pieces, you can mince this)
1/4 cup diced crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese & 1/2 Cup raisins
1/2-2/3 cup Italian dressing (see my note on how to make a homemade vinaigrette)
Follow the directions on your package of cous cous to prepare it. It usually requires some water, butter/oil and salt to come to a boil. Then you add your cous cous, turn off the heat, and let sit uncovered for five minutes. That’s it. I mean, how easy can it get?
While your cous cous is cooking, dice your veggies and add them to a large bowl. Throw in the raisins. You could add plenty of other veggies if you wanted, too. Diced cucumber, celery, sun dried tomatoes or grape tomatoes cut in half or add some fresh minced herbs. The possibilities are endless.
Once your cous cous is done, fluff it with a fork and add it to the bowl with your veggies. Pour your vinaigrette on top and stir until everything is coated.
Lastly, add your crumbled feta and fold into the salad. Cover the bowl and let sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for best flavor. Serve on a bed of greens.
*Note: To make a quick vinaigrette, use a small mason jar or a container with a tight fitting lid and add 1/4 Cup olive oil, about 2-3 Tbs of vinegar of your choice (I like red wine vinegar), 1 tsp of dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp of Italian seasonings and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder (or 1 clove of minced garlic). Add some salt and pepper, shake it up and taste it to see if you need to adjust seasonings or add more vinegar.