Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

I always forget how much I hate the process of moving. During our almost-three years of marriage Mike and I have lived in four different places just in California, not to mention our two apartments in Chiang Mai, one in Bangkok, and one in Seoul (Asia was easier because we were living out of backpacks, though). I get so irritated with packing, cleaning, unpacking, not being able to find anything in millions of boxes, having to map new runs and get used to a new kitchen that cooking usually falls by the wayside and I find myself not wanting to do more than mix up a bowl of oatmeal for about a week after moving.

Now that we’ve been moved in for about a week, things are finally starting to come together. Our cupboards are organized, the pantry and fridge are stocked, and I’m in the mood to cook!

This salad looked amazing when I first saw it in my Google Reader, but I wanted to make it more of a main dish, so I added some couscous. I also replaced sundried tomatoes with roasted red peppers, and loved the salty-sweet contrast between them and the olives. If you have time to let the lentils and couscous cool a little before you mix everything together, then let the whole mixture stand at room temperature for about an hour, I think the flavor will be outstanding. I, on the other hand, was tired and hungry from a long day of shopping in San Francisco so I just mixed everything together hot and it was still really good!

Recipe:
(adapted from Elly Says Opa)

1 1/2 cups lentils
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup sliced roasted red pepper
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp minced shallot
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water and the bay leaf to a boil. Rinse and pick over the lentils, and then add them to the boiling water. Cook until soft, about 20-25 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, bring the broth to a boil in another saucepan. Turn off the heat, stir in the couscous, cover, and let stand for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

When the lentils are tender, drain them and set aside to cool slightly. Toss with the couscous, then add the roasted red pepper, olives and parsley.

Whisk together the shallot, red wine vinegar and dijon. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the couscous and lentils, and mix to combine. Let stand for about an hour before serving to allow the flavors to combine.

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5 comments to Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

  • I was all set to make this over the weekend. Then I burned the damn lentils! Haha… I like your adaptations. :)

  • I love roasted red peppers and this combo looks great. I like how the couscous infiltrates the lentils. :)

  • I am so glad that I’m not the only one who can’t wait the allotted time to enjoy delicious food!! Although, I do see it as scientific; we, as cooks, must know how the food tastes in all conditions– right out of the oven, how it is “supposed” to be eaten, and even cold and leftover straight from the fridge.

  • As I was eating it, I was thinking roasted red peppers would be great in it. Love the couscous addition! I’m sure bulgur would be a great addition too.

  • I made a version of this after reading Elly’s post, too! I did fresh tomatoes, and served it on top of spinach with bread on the side… another great vegetarian main course. The couscous idea is a great way to bulk it up!

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