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Couscous Salad

Cooking for one reveals things. Are you a messier cook when no one is in the house? Do you use less ingredients? Do you use a plate? Last weekend, my husband went on a camping trip for a few days, and I discovered that I like simplicity when I’m cooking just for myself. One night I had shrimp and cocktail sauce for dinner, along with some sliced cucumber. One night I had a tomato and cheese sandwich, which is actually one of my all-time favorite things to eat in the summer (What is better than the combination of a summer-ripe tomato and cheese on really good bread? Adding a pickle can’t hurt either). And one night, I made this salad. Couscous cooks so fast, and you can do all the chopping/prep work in the time it is ‘resting’. It’s a great salad for the summer, no matter how many people are in your house.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous (or you can use regular couscous)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1/2 a red onion finely chopped
  • one small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the couscous: boil a cup and a half of water (per cup of couscous). Stir in the couscous, cover, and let sit for about 15 minutes. If you are using regular couscous, it only needs to sit for 5-7 minutes. Pour the couscous into a bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool (you can also quickly stir some ice cubes around in the couscous to help it cool down). Squeeze the lemon into a small bowl, and whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. A splash of balsamic vinegar is also nice to include. Set aside. Add the tomato, cucumber, fennel and onion to the couscous and stir. Pour the lemon/oil mixture over the salad and sprinkle the cheese, salt and pepper on top. Chill before serving.

Note: I don’t like to add a lot of dressing to this salad because it makes it soggy. However, feel free to experiment, according to how much flavor you like. I suspect that there are many other dressings that would work well. Or maybe just add some fresh herbs and no dressing at all. I kept this vegetarian, but I think it would also be good with  shredded chicken.

Serves 6-8 (as a side dish)

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