This February has seen a deluge of snow here in Boston, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon! The snowfall has left us with piles in our front yard taller than the hubs and this weekend we might get another foot on top of that! This has left us sore from all the shoveling and daydreaming about summer. (I’m already picking out my summer vacation wardrobe – too soon?)
To help us get through this crazy winter we purchased our first electric pressure cooker! After hours of comparing various pressure cookers online and gathering input from friends on Facebook, we decided to go with the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 – a 6 quart model that is also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and yogurt maker! I have yet to try out it’s various other functions, but we have had loads of fun cooking up recipes we’ve never made before. So far we’ve made mushroom risotto, beef stew, barbecue pulled chicken, cola and soy short ribs and beef stroganoff! Mostly warming comfort food for this blistery weather as you can tell. A blog post about healthy pressure-cooking will probably come along once I gather my bearings with this nifty gadget.
Although it’s been fun playing with the Instant Pot, hubs and I have been craving something simpler and less heavy. We need to maintain our energy for shoveling, after all! I remember having a couscous salad at our friends’ housewarming-slash-birthday party a few weeks back and wanted to recreate it. I used whole wheat Israeli couscous and added avocado to the mix. This would be perfect for work lunch, as a side salad or summertime picnic dish (if I cook it, summer will come? Field of Dreams reference for you there). You could easily exchange any of the ingredients for other fresh veggies. I forgot to put red onion in it this time, but it would be delicious with some diced in. Add some toasted walnuts or pine nuts to make it even heartier, or leave out the feta to make it vegan-friendly.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I will be – along with a nice big hot cocoa by the fire! Stay warm out there everyone!
Bright and Lemony Couscous Salad
1 cup whole wheat Israeli (big pearl) couscous
1 tbsp olive oil (for toasting the couscous)
1 ¼ cup water
1 English cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup olives (kalamata or black olives)
1 bunch curly-leaf parsley
2 cups feta cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
optional salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. When the oil is shiny add couscous to the saucepan with the oil and toast couscous for approx. 3-4 min, turning to coat all of the grains of couscous and toast evenly.
- Add water and cover, reducing heat to low-medium. Cook for 20 min or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Dice and cut cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and olives. Finely chop parsley. Add all to a large bowl and toss with feta cheese.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemon on top of the salad and then drizze with olive oil.
- When the couscous has finished cooking add to the salad and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.