Couscous Salad

I made this pizza again last night. I bought the ingredients a few days before, but then had to wait… and wait… for it to be cool enough to heat the oven at 450 degrees.

In the spirit of summer, avoiding the oven, and because I just took a fantastic blog class from them, I’d like to share one of my favorite salad recipes from the girls at We Are Not Martha. It’s cool… it’s refreshing… it’s got veggies… it’s got carbs… it’s got protein… what more could you want?!
Yields 8 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry couscous cooked according to box (if you get the 5.8 oz box that’s exactly what’s in there, I just usually buy mine in bulk)
  • 5 oz. bag baby arugula, chopped
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled silken tofu (yea… I often pretend tofu is feta haha. tofu of course tastes like nothing, but the look and texture is very similar)
  • pinch of celtic sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 3 limes

Mix all of the ingredients together in a very large bowl. That’s it! I prefer mine to be chilled for an hour but it tastes great as is too.

To be fair, the chopping takes a little bit of time. My goal for this year is to be a better chopper. I feel like my time in the kitchen could be cut in half with an efficient flick of the wrist. Wonder if there’s a class for that =)

Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Kabobs with Double Goodness Tomato Soup

Before jet-setting to Miami, the girls and I made a Target trip to get our vacation essentials. They got toiletries in 3 oz. or less… I got the Fun Stuff Silly Snacks cookbook. Logical. (Side-note: I also got Fun Stuff Cupcakes. May have a problem here) One of the first entries in the “Reinvented Classics” chapter was Grilled Cheese Kabobs.

I had always been afraid to make grilled “cheese”. What would it taste like? Fake cheese in small amounts is usually fine because I mix it with other things and it’s close enough in taste to satisfy my craving. But a whole sandwich? That’s a lot of fake cheese! Enter daiya. I had been hearing good things ever since Amy’s started using it. After some hesitation I decided to give it a go and… WOW. Just wow. Never have I tasted something that brought me back to pre-lactose-intolerant Joanna.

Always searching for ways to add in vegetables I modified this grilled cheese from Closet Cooking and paired it with some Double Goodness Tomato Soup.
Serves 4.

Ingredients:

Grilled Cheese:

Spinach Pesto:

  • 1 cup baby spinach (packed)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 TB walnuts
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Soup:

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB earth balance natural buttery spread
  • 1 large leek, chopped and washed
  • 20 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 14.5 oz cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter on low heat. Stir in leeks and cook until leeks are soft but not turning brown, 3-4 min. Add in sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, and water and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 min.

While the soup is cooking, you can make the pesto for the sandwich. It’s really easy! Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend. Done!

After the 15 minutes is up, remove the soup from heat, and puree with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Now time for the sandwich! Heat a grill pan on low. For each sandwich assemble 2 slices of bread, 1 TB butter, 3 TB pesto, and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Grill about 7 min each side or until cheese is nice and gooey. To make kabobs cut into 1-in. squares and skewer. I liked the idea of having bite-sized sandwich pieces to dip in the soup, but easily could’ve just dipped the whole thing =).

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Bacon and Homemade Croutons

Spring is finally here! *knock on wood* While cruising around my local farm stand, Wilson Farm, I spotted the freshest looking asparagus I had ever seen! All of the fruit and vegetables here are amazing. Still a little on my soup kick, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

Adding bacon to the soup is definitely the way to go. I love how the smokiness of the bacon cuts into the healthy taste of asparagus haha.
Recipe adapted from Whole Foods and Shape.com
Serves 4.

Soup:

  • 1 TB buttery substitute
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 1 in. pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 in. pieces
  • 1 cup silken tofu
  • 2 TB chives, chopped
  • 8 slices cooked bacon

Croutons:

  • 3 whole grain dinner rolls, cut into 3/4 in. cubes (can really use any bread you have)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium low heat. Add onions and garlic until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant, 5-7 min. Add in broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium low, add in asparagus and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 min. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

While the soup is cooling you have the perfect amount of time to make the croutons. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and then spread out on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 10-15 min.

The soup should be cool enough to puree now. Add in the tofu. Using an immersion blender (can also use a regular blender if done in batches) puree the vegetables in broth until smooth. On medium high heat bring soup back to a boil. Soup is done!

Ladle the soup into 4 bowls and divide the croutons among them. Crumble 2 slices of bacon over each. As a final touch sprinkle the chives on top.

Couscous, Lentil & Arugula Salad with Garlic-Dijon Vinaigrette

I’ve been reading that greens give you energy. I’m not sure how much I believe this, something about the alkaloids in raw greens equal the alkaloids in coffee. As far as I’m concerned, nothing can replace my coffee haha. But it can’t hurt right? More energy, sign me up!
Adapted from EatingWell.com
Serves 4.

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 2 cups steamed ready to eat lentils
  • 10 oz. baby arugula blend
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled tofu

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup evoo
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
  • pepper to taste

Prepare vinaigrette dressing by combining oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Stir couscous, lentils, and 1/4 cup of the dressing together.

Divide arugula, cucumber, and tomatoes among 4 plates. Top each salad with couscous/lentil mixture and sprinkle on tofu. Add more dressing to taste.

Now, normally I’m a meat person but I really liked this salad. I enjoyed the tangy kick of the mustard and loved that the couscous and lentils left me with a pleasantly full feeling!