Summer’s in full swing now: ’tis well and truly the Season of the Salad! This pretty, filling dish makes a cool and easy lunch, or an elegant pot-luck contribution — without overheating your healthy vegan kitchen. Use freshly-snipped herbs for best flavor, and rejoice in how satisfying summer salads can be!
- juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons agave (or real maple syrup)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill)
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 2 cups arugula leaves, well washed and patted dry
- 1 cup cooked Israeli (pearled) couscous, cooled
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, raw or toasted
- a few dashes of red pepper flakes, optional
Cook pearled couscous according to package directions, and rinse in cool water until room temp or cooler.
Toast pine nuts if desired, being careful not to let them burn; when they just start turning golden, set aside to cool.
Combine dressing ingredients except salt in blender, and pulse a few times until fairly smooth (but some herb bits are definitely ok!). Add salt to taste, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine arugula, couscous, red pepper flakes (if using) and 1/4 cup of the dressing. Toss well to combine.
Top salad with red bell pepper, capers, and pine nuts, and serve at once with the remaining dressing alongside. Nom!
If you’re making this dish ahead of time, assemble salad with all ingredients except dressing and pine nuts; add the pine nuts to the salad just before mealtime, and serve the dressing on the side.
I love arugula for this salad, but you can easily substitute any fresh farmers’-market greenery. Massaged kale also works very well here; to use chard or collards, trim leaves from stem, roll ’em up, and slice into thin ribbons. Then use a steamer basket to cook the greens until just tender. Refrigerate until cool, and add to salad in arugula’s stead.
For maximum non-kitchen-hotness, prepare the couscous the night before (in the cool of the evening), and let it chill in the fridge until needed.
Makes 4-5 servings.
Image credit: Creative Commons photo by BlueberryFiles.