You say pasta salad, I think church luncheon or pot luck. It’s a typical dish that you’ll see served at many summer-time gatherings. I was asked to bring a pasta salad to a church event recently and said yes, though I was completely stumped about what to make. I’ve never actually had a pasta salad before, because growing up with an Israeli momma, we didn’t eat a lot of American food. Our diet consisted mostly of fresh, real foods and when we had a carb, it was usually couscous. We ate lots of fruits and vegetables, salads and delicious home-cooked meals by my talented mom, typical of the Israeli lifestyle. I get my love for food from her!
Anyway, the church event and pasta salad. Sticking to my roots, this light, fresh and delicious salad is what I came up with. This can be served as a main dish or a side, depending on your preference. Israeli couscous, lots of veggies and a squeeze of lemon juice, this salad is quick, easy and a total crowd pleaser! I had several messages the same night of the event asking for the recipe. So here it is!
A couple notes:
-I like to toast my couscous in the pan before cooking it. This gives it a deeper, more complex flavor. Over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil with couscous and sauté for 4-5 minutes until lightly toasted.
-I always cook my couscous, both the pasta and the grain, in chicken stock to add flavor.
-Careful not to overcook your couscous, you don’t want it to get mushy. Once it’s done cooking, rinse it under some cold water in a fine mesh strainer to stop it from cooking further.
Prep time: 10 minutes
3 cups Israeli couscous, prepared by the package directions (You’re looking for the little pasta balls, not the grain)
1 large english cucumber, seeded
1 red pepper
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 pint baby tomatoes, washed and sliced
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
S+P to taste
-Into a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
-Serve room temperature or chilled.