There wasn’t much going on in my kitchen this week since I was away (mostly work, but managed to squeeze in a hike featuring falls). Luckily, I thought ahead and took some pics of this salad I made last weekend. Our local farmer’s market has had beautiful asparagus recently, so I’ve been on a bit of an asparagus tear. This recipe from Tracy (aka Shutterbean) is definitely a keeper.
Toasted pine nuts give a subtle crunch and almost smoky flavor.
Grape tomatoes to brighten the color.
Mmm, farm-fresh grilled asparagus. A grill pan does a pretty darn good job in lieu of the real deal.
Instead of using traditional or flavored couscous, I opted for whole wheat pearl / Israeli couscous. I like the added health factor of a whole wheat pasta (yes, couscous is technically pasta) and thought a larger size would work well with the hefty, large bites of veggies. Instead of fresh mozzarella, I tried out the baked almond feta recipe I found through Poppy’s site. If you’re looking for a vegan cheese substitute, you should give this a go. It actually tastes close to real feta (and not at all cardboardy, soy-y, nasty like some of the store brands I’ve tried).
And give this salad a go too :)
Asparagus & Tomato Basil Couscous – adapted slightly from shutterbean.com
- 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb.)
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup baked almond feta, regular feta, or mozzarella
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Cook couscous according to instructions on package. Set aside.
Preheat grill/grill pan to medium-high heat. Drizzle asparagus with 1 tbsp. olive oil, season with salt & pepper. Grill 3-4 minutes per side, until charred & slightly tender (you still want a nice bite to it). Transfer asparagus to a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss cooked couscous with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Stir in pine nuts, tomatoes and asparagus. Gently stir in cheese & basil and squeeze lemon juice on top to finish off the dish. Season with salt & pepper and serve cold or at room temperature.
Yield – 4 servings