Couscous Spinach Salad

I was looking for side dish to bring to our church’s annual birthday party potluck and I found this delicious vegetarian salad. Originally called “Summer Salad by the Lake” this salad was created by Ramya Ramamurthy – and was chosen as one of the winning winning entries for the Taste of Home Summer Sides Contest – included in their 2018 issue. I made it on two separate occasions: on a week night I cut the recipe in half for just my husband and I (didn’t include the pineapple) – and then the full recipe for the potluck. Several people asked me for the recipe afterword.

Prep time: 35 minutes, Cook: 15 minutes + standing, Makes 10 servings.

Couscous and Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium sweet bell peppers, sliced (I used red and yellow)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Salad:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 12 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup uncooked pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa (I used regular), rinsed
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or arugula)
  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (or Mandarin oranges or mango chunks)
  • 1/2 cup fresh shelled peas or frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (omit for vegan recipe)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels (pepitas) toasted
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 12 tsp. pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl toss together garlic, sweet peppers, oil, salt and pepper; transfer to a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Roast until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring water, oil and salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous and quinoa. Reduce heat; simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the couscous and quinoa to the large bowl. Stir in the remaining salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Pour over salad and gently toss to coat.

Substitutions: You can use peaches, Mandarin oranges or mango chunks instead of pineapple, or cherry tomatoes instead of heirloom tomato pieces. In the winder, use root veggies such as roasted carrots, broccoli or squash.

Nutritional Information (per 3/4 cup serving): 269 calories, 15g fat (2g sat. fat), 3mg cholesterol, 700mg sodium, 29g carb (7g sugars, 3g fib er), 7g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 fat.

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