I love making salads like this that I can take in my lunch for a few days during the week. It saves me a lot of time getting ready in the morning! And then I have a lunch I actually look forward to eating!
I would suggesting whipping up a big batch and putting it right into Tupperware! Or serve it to your dinner guests! Feel free to modify the ingredients, depending what you have on hand.
I got the idea for this salad a few weeks ago when I ate something similar from the amazing salad bar at Whole Foods. It was so good. I couldn't wait to have it again. Unfortunately, the next time I went to WF they didn't have that same salad. In the end it's probably for the best, as those salads can be an expensive habit. So I bought some Israeli couscous and got to work. I bought it at Trader Joe's in Boston, because well, I love Trader Joe's. But really, you could buy it anywhere.
Then I googled some recipes for israeli couscous salad, clicked on the first one that popped up (it's from the Food Network) and miraculously had most of the ingredients. That almost never happens! I tweeked it a bit and used this dressing as I had just made some.
( I added in a dash of paprika to the dressing). I also like eating it served on top of a green salad to make it more substantial.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous- I used 1 box
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
12 ounces grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or baby heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, halved (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup feta, coarsely crumbled or chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 or 1/2 cup jarred red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped-
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted- I used Trader Joe's honey roasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
raisins or dried cranberries as desired
For the dressing use any dressing you'd like or follow this one:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing: Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.
For the couscous: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Mix together the spinach, tomatoes, cheese, peppers, parsley, almonds and mint in a large bowl. Add the couscous and the dressing. Toss until all the ingredients are coated.