I’m taking a short break from hearty fall recipes to feature this refreshing and healthy couscous salad. I know I often rave about recipes being the ideal appetizer/side dish/main course to serve dinner guests, but I’m pretty sure this one trumps all.
The salad is fresh and full of flavor. It can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and cheese, and making a basil vinaigrette, instead of a mayo-based dressing. The basil dressing is one of my favorite components; however, I use it sparingly, as it defeats the healthy aspect of the dish. :)
- 1½ cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 shallot, halved
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup grated Asiago cheese, plus more to taste
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 (10 oz.) package Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend (Israeli style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa)
- 3 cups coarsely chopped arugula
- 1 lb. plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
- 3-4 chicken breasts, poached then shredded
- Blend basil leaves, mayonnaise, shallot and lemon juice in processor until smooth. Gradually blend in buttermilk and season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
- Bring 3 cups chicken broth to a boil, then add 1 (10 oz.) package Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend and 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10-12 minutes covered or until done. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate. Serve chilled, with dressing on the side.