Saturday, May 17, 2014

Nectarine, Feta & Basil Couscous Salad

I'm glad it's almost summer time.
I am ready.
It's just like the Northwest to tease us with some nice sunny days and then rain for the weekend.  Sigh.
If my memory serves me, Summer should be here by July 5th. 
Double sigh... I so hope I am wrong about that.
Who knows, maybe we'll have a nice holiday weekend with Memorial Day's next week?
However, if any of you planned to go camping, then we are surely jinxed, and it will rain.
No matter what the weather, I thought you might need a nice, easy, somewhat healthy salad that will hold up at a picnic.

Inspired by my new, Cooking Light magazine June 2014... but I had to jazz it up a bit more with a better dressing, some feta and red onions. LOL, I guess I kept the nectarines, basil and couscous.

Serves about 6

3 cups cooked Israeli couscous (about 1 1/2 dried)
2 nectarines, chopped
1/4 cup, basil, chopped
1/2 cup red onions, diced and rinsed*
1/2 cup feta, cubed, or crumbled

1/3 orange juice
1/2 cup olive,or vegetable, oil (or mixture)
1 Tbsp stone ground seeded mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon, or lime juice
Orange zest, optional
Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl, mix the orange juice, lemon juice, honey and mustard until well mixed.  Slowly add the oil, mixing constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and orange zest (if using).  It should taste like yummy salad dressing. Set aside.

Cook your dried Israeli couscous in boiling water, with salt added. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.  Drain well.  Add to a large bowl.  Pour about half the dressing on the hot couscous, mix.  Allow to cool.

Dice the red onions, in a small colander, rinse well and let drain.  This reduces the "strong" flavor of the red onions and assures that they will not over power the salad.

Dice the nectarines, cube the feta, shred the basil. Add to the couscous mixture. Add the red onion.  Add salt and pepper, and adjust to taste.  Add more dressing as needed.

Serve at once.  If doing ahead, add the basil right before serving, as basil can turn black.

Note: If you don't need all the dressing for this salad, this leftover dressing is great for basic green salads, or for marinating meats.

Here's what's been happening on my blog around, or on, this date over the years...

One year ago:  Memorial Day Cooking Ideas
Two years ago:  Mexican Chilled Prawn Salad
Three years ago:  Indian Butter Chicken

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