Healthy Salad, A No Cook Couscous Recipe
No cook couscous recipe
Couscous is made out of tiny steamed granules of semolina (durum wheat), it is a staple food in North Africa, eaten instead of rice. Most of the couscous available in the West has already been steamed and then dried. All that is necessary to recreate its soft, fluffy texture is to cover it with boiling water or stock. However, as my sister discovered when she invented this recipe, it will also "cook" perfectly well if covered with cold liquid, it just needs a longer time to absorb it and become soft.
The discovery led to the invention of this delicious, no-cook salad recipe, in which the couscous is simply mixed with vegetables, and softens by absorbing the juice form tomatoes, cucumber and lemon. Admittedly it takes it a bit longer to swell and soften, a couple of hours, rather than minutes if left at room temperature. However, the delicious taste it acquires from soaking up all juices is well worth the wait.
The ingredients of this dish can be varied according to your taste and imagination. From the vegetable, I think tomatoes and cucumber are essential, and I like adding sweet pepper (capsicum) and scallions. Because I like a bit of heat I will usually add a little bit of chopped chilli, but it can be omitted. Fresh herbs are nice, but dried herbs like oregano or even Herbes de Provence will also work well.
I really like adding sun dried tomatoes, marinated with olive oil and herbs from a jar, or roast capsicum again from a jar. When I do that I will use the oil in which the tomatoes have been soaking, instead of olive oil for extra flavour.
- Instant Couscous
- half a large cucumber
- 2 capsicum, yellow, orange or red
- juice from one lemon
- 3 scallions
- 3 Tbps olive oil, extra virgin
- 5 dried tomatoes, optional
- 2 roast capsicum, optional
- half a small chilli, optional
- fresh herbs, e.g. basil or oregano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Tip the couscous into a salad bowl.
- Chop all the vegetables into small dice, being careful to retain all the juice that comes from the tomatoes. Tip the chopped vegetables with their juice into the container.
- Season with salt and pepper. Tear up or cut the fresh herbs and add them to the salad. Finally squeeze the juice of the lemon into the salad and add the olive oil. If using sun dried tomatoes in olive oil you can use the oil from the jar instead.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm, and leave the salad till the couscous is "cooked". This should take two hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.