Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mother Nature is quite the tease. Here we are in February and the weather is in the 70's in Georgia. It makes you think that spring is here, but I know better. We always have a few more cold snaps between now and April. But, to take advantage of this warm weather preview, we're hitting the grill with some boneless chicken breasts and chilling it down with this salad from Goosberry Patch's Mom's Very Best Recipes, copyright 2011. This recipe was submitted by Kathy White of Cato, NY. While I'm a huge fan of couscous, I normally stay away from recipes with "Mediterranean" in the title simply because I don't like black olives or feta cheese which I associate with this region of cooking. But, Kathy was clever, she used black beans to mimic the look of the black olives. Well played, Kathy, well played!

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

10-oz. pkg. couscous, uncooked
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
15-1/2 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
6-oz. pkg. baby spinach
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Prepare couscous according to package directions; drain and set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice and Italian seasoning. Bring to a low boil; stir in beans and cook until warmed through. Meanwhile, add remaining oil to a skillet over medium heat; add spinach and cook until wilted. Add bean mixture to spinach and stir gently. Stir in couscous, salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or chill overnight and serve cold. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

In case you've never used couscous, here's what it looks like. It's sold in the rice section of the grocery store.

It's not rice. It's actually a very tiny pasta.

After you bring your water to a boil, take the pot off the burner, pour in the couscous, give it a quick stir, and put the lid on until you're ready to use it. Done!

Start the black beans by bringing the olive oil, lemon juice, and Italian seasonings to a boil.

Add the black beans and cook until warmed through. Only takes a few minutes.

Next comes one of my very favorite ingredients - baby spinach!

Saute in a little olive oil. I gave it a sprinkle of kosher salt.

After the spinach cooked down a little to this point, I added the beans.

Stir the veggies together.

The couscous has absorbed all of the liquid.

Fluff with a fork.

Stir in the spinach and beans. I decided to chill the mixture and eat it as a cold salad.


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