Summertime brings lots of get togethers with friends and family which means BBQs, picnics and lunch at the beach. I am constantly trying to think of new salad ideas to bring to these gatherings. I look for recipes that can be made in advance, use seasonal produce, are portable, and can be served cold or at room temperature.
This pearl couscous salad with roasted tomatoes fits all of these criteria and is one of our new favorites! It’s packed with flavor from the roasted tomatoes and garlic, the herbs add some nice freshness and the almonds give it some crunch!
Roasting tomatoes is a way to bring out their natural sweetness and it can completely transform their flavor. The juices become concentrated and their color becomes darker. I usually roast tomatoes in the oven, but the grill is a nice alternative when you don’t want to heat up the house in the warmer weather (thanks for the idea Dad!)
As I’ve mentioned before, tomatoes get their red hue from a phytonutrient called lycopene. Lycopene is one of the many health-promoting carotenoids which acts as an antioxidant and may also have some anti-cancer properties. Lycopene is better absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked and when paired with a small amount of healthy fat, like olive oil (which makes this recipe ideal).
Pair this couscous with a nice green salad and whatever else you may be grilling. I know this will be in our rotation all summer long!
- For the tomatoes and dressing:
- 2 pints of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle on tomatoes
- ¼ cup water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- For the couscous:
- 2 ¾ cups vegetable broth
- 2 ¼ cups pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous)
- ⅓ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
- 4 oz feta, crumbled
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- Preheat the grill to 400°F. Place the sliced tomatoes in a bowl and coat with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Spread tomatoes onto a grill pan lined with foil. Grill for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. The tomatoes will be wilted and slightly charred and their juices will be concentrated. Set aside and let the tomatoes cool to room temperature.
- Now make the couscous. In a medium saucepan bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in the coucous, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 10 minutes. Spread couscous onto a large plate to let cool.
- When the tomatoes are done, make the dressing. In the bowl of a food processor, add ½ cup roasted tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup water, juice of ½ lemon, 1 clove of garlic and pinch of salt and black pepper. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Now assemble the salad. Transfer the cooled couscous into a medium bowl. Add the remainder of the roasted tomatoes, parsley, mint, feta, and almonds. Stir in the dressing until everything is combined. Serve at room temperature or chilled.