Healthy Eating: Celebrate bounty of garden with a hearty couscous salad

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Couscous Salad makes a hearty dinner.

This has been a cool summer in my garden — especially temperature-wise. Usually we get enough heat that by mid-July my supply of greens and lettuces has started to bolt. But this year, due to the cool temperatures in Juneary, Julyary and Augustary (creative combination of January with June, July and August!), I have been able to harvest greens continuously since May. That means I have a variety of  lettuces, Swiss chard, Lacinato kale, and Russian kale to enjoy.

This is the time of year to celebrate the bounty of the garden with hearty salads for dinner. I use some variety of shaped pasta or couscous, and add a protein as well as an assortment of garden vegetables including greens. This makes for an easy as well as balanced and nutritious summer dinner that doesn’t heat up the kitchen.

Like so many of my recipes, feel free to use any vegetables that you have in the house or pick up at the Farmers Market. I love to add cut up steamed green beans or peas and raw heirloom tomatoes as one of many variations. Consider substituting the feta for another cheese or even use rotisserie chicken. The simple, Mediterranean-inspired version of Couscous Salad is wonderful with fish, chicken, beef or tofu…as well as simply by itself.

>Enjoy!

Couscous cooks quickly in a saucepan.

CHILLED SPINACH & FETA COUSCOUS

Ingredients:

2-1/4 cups water

<1/2 teaspoon salt

10 oz. couscous

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach

1/4 cup sliced green onions

3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill and/or parsley

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Lemon wedges

Fresh dill and/or parsley sprigs (optional)

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan bring water and salt to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, combine oil and lemon juice. Add oil mixture to couscous, stirring to coat. Let stand until completely cool.

3. Stir in spinach, green onions, and dill. Refrigerate 2 -12 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

4.  Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving. Serve with lemon wedges and top with fresh dill sprigs, if desired.

Makes 8-10 servings

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].

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