The hot spell we are experiencing is going on…and on…and on. The Pacific Northwest doesn’t like that kind of weather and the effects of a month without rain are taking a toll. My lawn that was green a few weeks ago is now the color of a brown paper bag and it’s a challenge to keep the pots on my patio from completely drying out no matter how much I water them. There isn’t much I can do about the weather but I can keep our meals simple and keep the oven off. Simple hardy salads are best and this is one of our favorites.
No recipe is needed for this salad…just combine your favorite veggies with couscous or quinoa and toss with a light vinaigrette and…presto…a great meal and a cool house. Farmers’ markets are busting at the seams with wonderful produce right now. A simple salad is one of the best ways to enjoy them.
A quick dip in boiling water removes the raw taste from vegetables like green beans and asparagus and the dressing absorbs better when they have been blanched for a minute or two. These were the veggies I had on hand last weekend but just about any will be delicious: diced avocado, bell pepper, roasted corn, cauliflower and broccoli flowerettes…whatever you like. Just be creative and use what you have.
- ¾ cup couscous, cooked and cooled.
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 large ripe tomato, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large bunch mint, chopped
- 1 large bunch flat leaved parsley
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare quinoa or couscous according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
- Toss the vegetables with the herbs and the garlic in a large bowl. Add the juice and zest of the lime and olive oil. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients. Finally add the couscous and gently fold in. Salt and pepper to taste. Taste the salad and add more lime juice or oil according to your taste.
- Set aside for at least half an hour in the fridge to cool and for all the flavors to blend.