Some recipes just cry out, "SPRING!"
This is one of those recipes. With fresh baby spinach, spring onions and dill...how could you possibly go wrong?
Speaking of Spring...where the heck is it?! Here in upstate NY, Spring is just barely, and I mean BARELY, peaking around the corner. I think we can all take this opportunity to officially discredit Punxsutawney Phil and his ridiculous forecast this year. This has been like the longest Winter of my life...
Anywho - I stole this awesomely easy and satisfying recipe from the mother of one of my college roommates. Emily's family would come over a couple times a month and we'd have big family dinners. This salad was prepared a couple of times and I adored it! I'm sure she herself adapted the recipe from elsewhere, as I have seen various other versions online.
Here is my version, with the permanent addition of feta cheese. It gives it a nice, salty bite. I have also increased the amount of fresh lemon juice from the original recipe. And, of course, used gluten-free couscous.
Can I just tell you, when I ever found out that Lundberg makes a delicious brown rice couscous, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Couscous - along with tortellini, ravioli, pizza, and english muffins - was right up at the top of my list of gluten-full foods that I've missed the most.
This dish is incredibly easy to put together. It just needs a little bit of prep time and a few hours to relax in the fridge. It's an awesome dish to bring to potlucks or picnics as there is no mayonnaise that might spoil. You can leave out the feta if you like. You can also try adding toasted pine nuts for an extra crunch and a bit of nuttiness. Although, the brown rice couscous has a great nutty flavor that really comes through in this dish.
This salad is wonderfully light and refreshing. Great alongside a nice grilled steak or chicken breast, or all by itself as a light lunch - which is how I like it best. I'll confess, I ate most of this salad...all 6 servings worth...my husband only brought a little to lunch a couple of days last week. Oh well, it was worth it! Enjoy!
Lemon Couscous Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus additional cooling
Yield: 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
- (1) 10-ounce box Brown Rice Couscous (try Lundberg)
- 3-4 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup good quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups Baby Spinach, washed, dried, and finely shredded
- 3 large Scallions, sliced thin
- 3 Tbsp fresh Dill, finely chopped
- 1 cup Feta, preferably reduced-fat or fat-free
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- In a small saucepan, prepare couscous according to package directions.
- Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and allow couscous to cool completely - you may have to place it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Stir in spinach, scallions, dill and feta; combine well.
- Chill salad, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Tip: Try adding 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts to round out the texture - delish!
Happy gluten-free cooking!