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the empty fridge

During the summer months, my fridge is a wasteland, holding random condiments and the occasional tubs of greek yogurt. It’s not that I don’t eat. I do, but not normally in my house. Sushi, thin crust pesto pizza, frozen yogurt, fresh fruit, bowls of hummus and warm pita bread. This is my summer diet.

Not too shabby, right?

But, unfortunately, this is the first summer where I have actually lived all alone. No family, no roomates. Nada. Which means that I am hurting for cash. My bank account doesn’t like my eating out ways so it’s time I changed my ways before I’m forced to sell my soul to the highest bidder.
Fortunately, that means that a lot of my new lunch/dinner are open for debate. My goal is to keep my grocery budget at 200 dollars per month, which should be easy since I live alone. Ha, that’s what you think. All my bakers out there know that baking isn’t a cheap hobby. Specialty flours, nuts, fried fruit, high-quality chocolate. It all adds up. But my self-imposed baking hatius has given me the funds and time to play around with new and fresh recipes out there.

My poor empty fridge will not be barren any longer. To kick off my new cooking adventure, I decided to use my favorite grain: whole wheat couscous. Small and nutty, this whole grain is so versatile. I wanted to make a simplier version of a tabouleh salad, but with couscous instead of bulgur. I made an easy lemon oil dressing and tossed it with some warm couscous, chopped tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and shredded carrots. To add some kick and flavor, I scooped some pre-made baba ghanouj and hummus to my big bowl. Lastly, I added some roasted eggplant, which is one of my favorites vegetable, and voila! I had a delicious warm couscous salad with a ton of flavor for half the price of a storebought version of this salad. And, to be honest, the leftovers I ate for lunch were ten times better.

Next time, I’d add some chopped cucumbers, black olives, and a dollop of greek yogurt, but you can really add whatever you want to this salad. It’s versatility and flavor makes this one of my favorite summer salads.

Warm Couscous Salad
Printable Recipec
Yield: 4 side servings, or 2 main dishes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
For the lemon dressing:
● 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
● 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
● 1/2 tsp salt
● 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the couscous salad:
● 1 cup water
● 1 cup dry whole wheat couscous
● 1 tsp unsalted butter
● 1/2 cup dried raisins
● 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
● 2 whole roma tomatoes, chopped
● 1 tsp salt
● 1/4 tsp black pepper
● 1/2 cup slivered carrots
● 2 tbsp hummus, (I used organic hummus dip from Trader Joes)
● 2 tbsp baba ghanouj dip, (I bought premade dip from Whole Foods)

Directions:
Bring 1 cup water, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Add the couscous; stir to mix. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to blend. Drizzle over couscous. Toss crumbled feta cheese and stir till combined, Mix in raisins, carrots, and tomatoes. Top with hummus and baba ghanouj dip. Season with more salt and pepper if you wish. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours or serve warm. Garnish with more feta cheese if you’d like.

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June 30, 2009 - 6:22 am

Kaitlyn - Wow that looks so delicious and easy! I actually have a box of whole wheat couscous waiting for me to do this to it in the pantry.

June 30, 2009 - 8:37 am

zoe - This is a lovely summer meal. When Im strapped for cash, I throw whatever I have in the fridge and pantry in a tortilla and heat it up!

June 30, 2009 - 10:42 am

Jessica - This looks INCREDIBLE! Just what I’d want to eat on a warm summer night…

June 30, 2009 - 12:14 pm

Ozge - finally some veggies instead of carbs :)

June 30, 2009 - 12:24 pm

whitneyinchicago - That looks delish. I love cous cous. baking and cooking does add up but what better place to spend your money than food! :)

June 30, 2009 - 6:28 pm

Sally - Ooh, this looks really yummy! I’ve got an eggplant growing in my garden that I’ve been pondering what to do with, so this is perfect timing! Thanks for the inspiration :)

July 1, 2009 - 1:51 pm

stephchows - stuff like this is always better the next day :) couldn’t agree more!

July 1, 2009 - 3:21 pm

Sprouted Kitchen - yum! this looks perfect. i LOVE roasted eggplant ~

July 1, 2009 - 5:01 pm

lola - that looks so great, thanks for the recipe! i love to make couscous salads because they’re so easy and healthy.

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