My mom was a great cook who loved food; however, there are certain foods that are always in my meal rotation today that were rarely in our weekly meal plan when I was growing up. For example, the Catholic nuns who ran my mom’s nursing school fed the students rice at every meal. As a result, mom hated it, and I think I only had rice twice when I was growing up.
Of course, many of today’s common ingredients also were just not available during the 60’s when I was growing up. It’s amazing to me how much our food supply has changed. I grew up eating blocks of frozen vegetables and later the frozen veggies in a bag that came with a “special sauce.” The cheese one was my favorite.
So, the first time I made this Mediterranean Couscous Salad, I was only vaguely aware of feta cheese and I had never tasted couscous. But, I do remember being totally blown away by the taste. So much so that I could not stop eating it, spoon after spoon, after I made it. Now it’s one of my iconic recipes.
This recipe makes a great side dish for a potluck. With the lemony vinaigrette and the vegetables, I’ve found it’s a nice contrast to some of the other heavier dishes on the table. It also serves as a great lunch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Mediterranean Couscous Salad
This salad is a healthy choice for a side dish or for a light meal. If you don’t like the mint, just leave it out. It makes a huge amount, but it’s easy to cut the recipe in half.
3 cups water
2 cups instant couscous
2/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch green onions, green and white parts sliced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, if necessary, chopped
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the couscous, remove the pot from the heat and cover. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and garlic. Whisk in the oil.
Add the green onions, garbanzo beans, cucumber, olives, parsley and mint to the couscous and stir. Add the dressing to the mixture and stir again. Gently fold in the feta cheese. Cover and chill.