Working Girls Lunch – Vegetable Couscous Salad 3

Back.  Back in the states.  Back to work.  Back to blogging, playing basketball, and fighting traffic.  Gone are the sunsets from Ares’ roof and here are the sunrises from my car window.

I used to think years ran from the first day of school to the last with a big chunk of freedom in between.  I found the concept of January to December rather frustrating.  Halfway through my year, I was expected to remember it was 1999 instead of 1998.  The number changed, but the days were still the same.

Now instead of classes and spring break, I count my time by meetings and projects.  I weigh staying up late with a good book against the headache it will cost me and I consider exercising a break.

Working all over the place has its upsides.  I never get bored sitting at the same desk, doing the same thing.  Fitting in lunch, on the other hand, can be a challenge.  If you ask anyone who knows me, I don’t do well when I’m hungry.  Skipping lunch has never been an option.  Right now, buying lunch isn’t much of an option either, which is why my Vegetable Couscous Salad is perfect.  It travels well and it’s packed with flavor.  I can make a huge batch of it on Sunday in about 25 minutes and I’m good to go for the week.  Plus, for those who get bored eating the same thing every day there are plenty of ways to mix this one up.

Vegetable Couscous Salad
Serves 5

Preface: There’s no meat in this dish, because it doesn’t keep as long.  There’s protein in the garbanzo beans, but if you’re looking for a little more, try tossing in some shredded turkey.

1 4.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups couscous
1 cup chopped carrots
1 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans, washed and drained
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 TBS fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Dump tomatoes into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Allow to cook down until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan.  Sauté onions until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add broth and bring to a rapid boil.

Add couscous to broth.  Remove from heat and cover with a lid.  Allow to sit undisturbed for five minutes.

Remove lid and fluff with a fork.  Combine, reduced tomatoes, couscous with onion and garlic, carrots, garbanzo beans, lemon zest and juice, and cilantro.  Check seasonings and adjust to your preference.

NOTE: Prep for the carrots, garbanzo beans, lemon and cilantro can be done during the down time: stirring the onions, waiting for the broth to boil, and while the couscous are cooking.

Mixing It Up:

Try mixing some of the salad with a dash or two of hot sauce and spooning it into Butter Bibb lettuce leaves, for a quick and easy lettuce wrap.

Add 1 cup of chicken broth to 1 cup of salad for a quick soup.

For a variation on the soup, add a ½ tsp cayenne pepper and a few slices of avocado.Recipe in print-friendly format

About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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