A twist on summer salads

Jam of the Week: “King Of The Streets” by Lazerhawk

With the coming of summer temperatures also comes a good time to make some nice, light salads. Well, it’s also a good time to grill up some burgers, but I’ll let that disparity go for now. It turns out that a recent cooking recommendation was a great match for the weather.

If you haven’t made couscous before, it’s a quick alternative to rice with a fluffy texture that’s high in protein. When I say quick, I mean that I went from walking into my kitchen to eating in about 10 minutes preparing just the couscous. I foresee it being a good alternative to a lettuce base in my summer salads.

Since I prefer to use recipes I’ve personally tried, mostly since a recipe is only truly easy to make if I can do it, I’ll share one I made this weekend from Southern Living magazine.

Quick Parmesan Couscous

Makes 4 servings

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

1 ten-ounce package plain, uncooked couscous

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Bring the chicken broth and butter to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover it and remove it from the heating element. Let it stand for five minutes. Then, stir in the cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Fluff the couscous lightly and serve.

I appreciate a good-tasting recipe that’s basically impossible to mess up. There are many salad combinations that I’ve found but have yet to try with couscous. I’m going to rush back home after work tonight to try another recipe out. It’s another example of how regular salad ingredients work well with couscous.

Strawberry Avocado Couscous

Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings

1 cup couscous

1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

1/2 cup corn kernels

1/2 cup strawberries, quartered

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons pine nut

Lime vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Lime zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons sugar or more to taste

How’s this for easy instructions? Whisk the vinaigrette together and set it aside. Cook the couscous according to package instructions in a saucepan. Toss the salad ingredients in a bowl and stir in the vinaigrette.

Tell me that doesn’t sound like something you want to eat on your porch under the hot, summer sun. Hopefully, I’ll get to enjoy that over Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you all will too.