Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Couscous Chicken Salad

It's so darned hot right now.  We've had several days of 100+ degree weather.  It's hard to get excited about preparing a big meal, let alone eating one.  It seems like all we want for dinner is salad.  Fresh veggies to cool us off.  But I can only serve so many salads with grilled chicken sliced on top.  The natives are getting restless, and Summer heat is relentless.  Time for some new material!  Couscous is such a versatile ingredient to cook with.  The little balls made from semolina wheat work in a recipe much like rice or pasta.  It is common in Middle Eastern and Greek cooking, and makes a great addition to this main dish salad.  The combination of chicken, cherry tomatoes, and other vegetables blend together to create a light, but filling salad that is dressy enough for company, and perfect for lunch or dinner.

Yum!  A light, refreshing meal!

The Couscous Chicken Salad Party!
Juice lemon and add to reserved artichoke liquid.

Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
Whisk in olive oil to create dressing.
Prepare couscous according to box directions.
Fluff with fork,  place in large bowl and cool.
To cooled couscous add artichoke hearts,
cherry tomatoes, and green onions.
Add garbanzo beans
Add cucumber
Add cooked and cubed chicken. 
(We baked 4 chicken breasts, but
you could use a pre-cooked Rotisserie
chicken if you want!) Toss
everything together with dressing. 
Serve at room temperature
or chill and serve cold
Serve with pita wedges and
hummus for a great meal!

Couscous Chicken Salad

1 (10 ounce) box instant couscous
1 can marinated artichoke hearts, quartered.  Drain and reserve liquid.
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas) drained and rinsed
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Make the couscous according to the package directions.  Fluff with fork.  Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.  Add artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, green onions, garbanzo beans, cucumber and chicken to the couscous.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and reserved artichoke liquid.  Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.  Pour over couscous mixture and toss lightly to combine.

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 minutes     Cook Time:  0

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