Saturday, 12 August 2017

Israeli Couscous and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Tuscan Sausage

Israeli couscous is not something I cook often, but whenever I do we really enjoy it, which makes me wonder why I don't cook it more?!

The reasons for this making this salad were a couple of corn cobs, a multitude of sweet peppers (literally), some asparagus and the fresh basil that is growing out of control in the garden...I can only make so much Basil Pesto!

I wanted to grill the vegetables and use them in a salad, with grilled sausage. It was then that I remembered the Israeli couscous. Even though it is pretty similar to using pasta, it has a lighter feel to it, so was a better choice for a hot evening.

Start by cooking the Israeli couscous in a pot of lightly salted, boiling water. You will need:

1 cup of couscous

When the Israeli couscous is cooked (check it the same way you would check pasta, by tasting to see how crunchy or soft the little balls of dough are), drain it and run it under cold water to cool it off and stop the cooking process. Set aside.

While the couscous is cooking and cooling, grill the vegetables and sausages. I used:

2 Tuscan sausages
1 corn cob
12 spears of asparagus
8 mini sweet peppers, seeded and cut in half

To assemble the salad, wait until the grilled vegetables have cooled enough to handle easily. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Roughly chop or slice the peppers. Cut the asparagus into 1/2" pieces. Cut the sausages in half and then thinly slice them.

In a large bowl, place the cooled and drained Israeli couscous along with the grilled vegetables and:

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Dress with  olive oil and balsamic vinegar, taste and season with salt and pepper.

Mix gently to combine, and then add:

the sliced sausage
a generous handful of grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Serve the salad in bowls, topped with a bit more Parmesan if you choose.

  • The Israeli couscous can also be lightly toasted in olive oil, before adding the liquid, which should be hot. Liquids such as water, chicken or vegetable stock or a combination work.
  • The cooking liquid can also be flavoured with herbs, spices or citrus fruit slices.
  • Israeli couscous is similar to pasta in that it is easy to pair with a variety of meats, vegetables and sauces. It can be served hot or cold, as a main meal or as a side dish or salad.
  • Pasta or couscous can be substitutes for the Isareali couscous.
  • The grilled vegetables were crunchy and smoky, and the corn was so nice and sweet. The salad was full of colour, crunch and flavour. Use any vegetables you have on hand, grilled or fresh, or even leftover roasted vegetables.
  • Shredded spinach or baby kale would be a nice addition.
  • I did not add any cheese, as the Tuscan sausage had fairly large pieces of Asiago in it, but if I was making this again I would add feta cheese.
  • Grilled chicken, pork or beef can be used instead of the sausage...leftovers are perfect for a meal like this. Consider adding prawns or candied salmon.
  • The second corn cob and the other two sausages were grilled and set aside for another meal.
  • This is a perfect light lunch, picnic lunch or packed lunch for school or can be made ahead, and everything is in one bowl.

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