Balsamic roasted vegetable and couscous salad

This wasn’t supposed to be a couscous-based recipe, but when you’re on the phone with your sister and you’re groping around in the dark, far reaches of the cupboard where you keep your grains (in jars that are all the same size) you may just happen to mistake couscous for quinoa and not realize it until after it’s in the boiling water. Honestly, I think either of them would work wonderfully here, and someday I might even try it with another of my favorite grains, pearl barley.

Those grain-based salads (like this one with quinoa and this one with barley) make such amazing dinners, because they’re healthy and filling, and the leftovers are so convenient for lunch.

Originally, this recipe called for grilling the vegetables, but when it’s 8:00 PM, 55 degrees, and foggy, standing around a grill isn’t the most appealing proposition. So I roasted the vegetables instead, tossed them with couscous and basil, and dinner was served.

Recipe:
(adapted from Veggie Belly)

balsamic dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper

roasted vegetables
1 medium Japanese eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
10 button mushrooms, halved

salad
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 475 F.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
Toss all the vegetables in a large bowl, and add half the dressing. Mix so that all the vegetables are coated, then spread onto a rimmed sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until everything is tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, bring the water to a boil in a medium covered saucepan. When it boils, turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Let stand, covered, for about ten minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
Add the roasted vegetables, remaining dressing, and basil, and mix well before serving.

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