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Lemony Couscous Salad with Feta, Mint and Pine Nuts

December 2, 2010

Lemony Couscous Salad

There is so much goodness going on in this perfect potluck salad that I don’t even know where to start. It has all of my favorite things: Couscous. Lemon. Mint. Feta. Pine nuts. Oh my! Potluck salads can be tricky tricky because the typical salad with leafy greens will be soggy and gross after 30 minutes of sitting out. And then everyone will laugh at you and you’ll be full of shame. I hate when that happens.

I made this for a Ladies Christmas banquet on Monday night. The deal was that 70% of the women brought salads (the other 30% brought dessert) and the servers simply kept replacing empty salad bowls with a fresh salad. With 550 women there, the chances of the servers putting out MY salad just as I was going through one of the three buffet lines was slim to definitely-not-going-to-happen. I had no hope that I was going to try my own salad. Tears.

But low and behold, just as I was nearing the end of my salad line, there, with a ring of glory shining around it, was my salad being placed on the table in front of me. Untouched and beautiful. All other salads paled in comparison. Women everywhere stormed towards it, scraping their plates clear, food flying everywhere, fighting for just a taste of the goodness set in front of them. 

Okay so that didn’t happen. But that would’ve been pretty cool.

It was still cool that I got to try it, and it was great. Not even a tiny bit soggy, and so full of flavour. The couscous makes it super hearty, and the flavours had melded together beautifully as I was able to assemble it the night before (minus the tomatoes). If you’ve never tried couscous, you must. I like it as an alternative to rice and it’s so easy it’s ridiculous. So if you’re looking to bring something different to your next potluck, this is a great choice. Albeit, not everyone will appreciate the unique flavours – Kevin wouldn’t have touched this with a 10 foot pole (and he said so) – this is a fresh and colorful option if you’re tired of the typical jelly molds, caesar, and mayonnaise slathered pasta salads that you see so often at a potluck.

Everything I love and everything Kevin hates

Lemony Couscous Salad with Feta, Mint and Pine Nuts
adapted from Company’s Coming

1 1/2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tbsp olive oil

Lemon Dressing:
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon (or refrigerated lemon juice)
1 tbsp liquid honey
1 garlic clove, minced

3 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1 fresh chili pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4-5 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Measure broth into medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium. Add couscous and olive oil. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl. Woah couscous – you’re too easy!

Lemon Dressing: Combine first 5 ingredients in jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Makes about 1/2 cup dressing. Drizzle over couscous mixture. Toss. Don’t be afraid to squeeze a little more lemon in there if you’ve got some leftover!

Add remaining ingredients. Toss well. Chill for at least 3 hours until cold. Makes about 6 cups.

Notes:
*If you make this without feta (but don’t you dare), add about 1/4 tsp salt to the dressing. I find feta pretty salty, so no extra salt was needed. Taste it and decide for yourself if you need a little extra salt, feta or not!
*If assembling the night before, do everything but leave the tomatoes out until the next day. They should chill for the final few hours mixed in with the rest of the salad.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. camille permalink
    December 2, 2010 2:58 pm

    “Kevin wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.”
    MAjor LOL moment. I can totally SEE him saying that. I love your blog!

    • December 4, 2010 11:07 am

      thanks camille! i love (and appreciate!) your comments!!!

  2. December 3, 2010 5:33 am

    This looks great! I love anything with feta. And I made something with mint once this summer… it’s so fresh tasting! I love this idea.

    • December 4, 2010 11:08 am

      now i’m just not sure exactly what to do with the leftover mint! LOL!

  3. December 3, 2010 11:31 am

    Oooh, I love salads like this. And I would be running, fighting, screaming for it if I found it on a buffet table! 🙂

  4. December 3, 2010 8:37 pm

    I really like the lemon dressing. I use bulgur a lot in my cooking. I am sure it will go well with that, if it was so good with couscous!! Love the fresh mint in the salads.
    Who cares if Kevin does not touch it…there is more healthy stuff for you, then! 🙂

  5. December 5, 2010 12:47 pm

    mmm this is definitely something I will make! you can get whole wheat couscous too! nice pics!

  6. December 10, 2010 10:06 am

    I constantly struggle with ideas for side dishes – I definitely need to remember this one!

  7. December 10, 2010 10:31 am

    Where do you find a Christmas Ladies Luncheon with 550 ladies attending? Oh, MY! Talk about salads and desserts! I would have just wanted to stand by the table and watch the food come and go taking a taste of each one… begging for recipes of the ones I loved. What a fun event! I love that you know that many people in one room that COOK. It is RARE!… or, did some run out and by their contribution? I hope not.
    This looks like summer in a bowl to me – that is what I love about it. All the fresh flavours to breath a little spring in my step this time of year.
    🙂
    Valerie

  8. December 11, 2010 9:21 am

    Lemony, minty, isn’t that the most perfect combination? It looks great. 🙂

  9. December 12, 2010 10:18 pm

    love this- it seems really simple and easy!! Also, as Valerie said- it seems summery… which in this weather is just what I need!!
    hope things are going well. can’t wait for your next post!

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