Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Veggies

It’s our second anniversary! Yay, we’re toddlers! It’s been two years since Ann, the hardworking, dedicated, passionate chefsordinaire at Grubbs n Critters, and I, started our Monthly Mystery Munchies, and it’s been an awesome experience. It’s been challenging, exciting, interesting, but, most of all, it’s been a hugely rewarding and positive experience. Ann, thank you for your commitment, enthusiasm, patience and friendship! Here’s to another two years!

This month, the theme was simple: green, yellow and red. That was it. I loved the simplicity of it, but also the wide range. I mean, anything goes, as long as it’s those colours. That’s the fun thing – we could make a meat dish, veggie dish, side dish, main dish, dessert, baked dish, anything! Absolutely anything! And how fun when I made a cold couscous salad, and Ann made a swiss roll! It’s all open to interpretation, which makes it curious and fun!

I chose couscous salad with baby tomatoes, red onions, a trio of peppers, olives and chickpeas. I serve this salad as a main course, and when I say it’s ridiculously easy, I’m not joking. There’s no cooking involved, except for preparing the couscous. That’s it. The whole thing literally takes five minutes – wash and slice the veggies while the couscous is standing in hot water. Mix together. Top with chickpeas. Done.

Ann made a giraffe-inspired Swiss roll and it looks delicious AF. I basically produced a five-minute dish, and she totally pushed the boat out! She added peaches as her ‘yellow’, but the kids weren’t feeling the vibe. I personally think it’s a great addition! Aaand she used red velvet colouring as the base, and stuffed it with so much yesssness (that’s a word, I promise! (I’m looking at you, mascarpone cheese!) The result? Well, check it out for yourself. (It does not disappoint!)

So, if you’re into raw, fresh ingredients, and you don’t have much time to prepare dinner, this is your guy. You can serve this as a side dish, which works well too. No fuss, no missioning, just easy, quick food. YES! However, if you’re looking for a Swiss roll stuffed with all things cream, Ann’s recipe is the way to go.

Couscous salad with fresh veggies

  • Difficulty: My 5 year old niece could ace this
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Supplies:

2 cups cooked couscous (soaked in water and chicken stock)
500g halved baby tomatoes
1 sliced red, yellow and green pepper
1 sliced red onion
Kalamata olives
30g crumbled feta
1 drained tin chickpeas

Making it Happen:

Cook the couscous per package instructions but add chicken stock to the water.
While the chicken stock is soaking, slice the veggies.
Add the chicken stock to a large dish, then add veggies and the drained chickpeas.
Crumble with feta and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

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Monthly Mystery Munchies # 9: Butternut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

Haaaaaapy New Year! Ann and I ‘met’ last year, and we’ve been doing our Monthly Mystery Munchies since May. It’s been a wonderfully rich and valuable experience – I have learnt so much about food – from ingredients to cooking methods, and it’s one of my favourite parts of blogging. I can honestly say I fervently look forward to it every month, and I avidly check Ann’s blog to see what she’s created. One thing I do know, before seeing her recipes, is that her food is always fun, definitely interesting, and incredibly tasty!

Butternut salad 2So about the New Year. The Christmas holidays were wonderful, albeit very busy, but packed with overindulgence. My hips, tummy and butt are testament – don’t make me show you the evidence. Let me give you a glimpse into the severity: Christmas lunch is always a big deal. Although relaxed, we went all out. I mean it’s the one time when I have a real excuse, so why not? Well, hips. That’s why not. Anyways, there were seven of us this year, and this the meat we collectively made: turkey stuffed with pork and onion stuffing (moi), glazed gammon (my very talented mom-in-law), and, because that wasn’t enough for six adults and one little dude, my brother-in-law did a turducken. That was just the meat! Yeah, uh, time to detox, which leads me to this month’s theme – salad.

Butternut salad 4Before you start yawning from boredom, we decided that it would be a good idea to do something healthy, but not the traditional lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber. Because that would bore that crap out of me. This salad is so tasty. The sweetness of the butternut and peppers is balanced by the baby spinach leaves, and the feta cheese finishes it off perfectly. Natch, I made a vinaigrette. I do love mustard, so I did healthy salad dressing version, no cream or butter, just mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. All super healthy. I feel thinner already. I decided not to add meat to this salad, but you can throw in some shredded chicken or cubed beef – totally up to you. It’s easy and tasty, and in 40C heat, it’s refreshing to eat a cool meal instead of something steaming hot. Ann made an impressive 5-layer salad! Be sure to check it out! And again, happy 2016!

Butternut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Supplies:

1kg butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubed and steamed
250g baby spinach leaves
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 disc feta cheese

Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch paprika
Salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Making it happen:

Steam the cubed butternut, let cool and transfer to a salad bowl/dish. Add the chopped peppers and baby spinach leaves, and crumble the feta over the salad. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over the salad.

Butternut salad