I have a few standard salads (beside the typical green salad) I like to make for big get togethers and BBQs. A pasta salad, a pumpkin salad, a potato salad and a couscous salad. I don’t have a strict recipe for any of them – just rough guidelines. The pasta salad always has pesto in it. But then sometimes I’ll put in a mix of fresh tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes or just a punnet of halved cherry tomatoes. Sometimes I add chicken too or slivered almonds. Likewise, the couscous salad is always evolving. Sometimes it has fresh capsicum, rocket and cherry tomatoes. This one I used roasted vegetables, baby spinach, baby beetroot, fresh herbs, feta and pistachios. Delicious.
This is a big salad so it is perfect to feed a crowd of people. If I have a lot of people over for a BBQ I will make this salad or a pasta salad, plus a green salad. Then plenty of bread and whatever we are grilling on the BBQ. I serve it cold so I can make it well in advance and add some more fresh herbs right at the end.
If you only need a small salad for a family dinner then halve everything. Otherwise make the whole recipe and enjoy the leftovers for lunch, breakfast, afternoon tea (just like Joel).
roast vegetable couscous salad
3 cups couscous
3 cups boiling water
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
300g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
1 capsicum, sliced (I added this fresh but you could roast it with the other vegetables)
150g baby spinach
1 large tin of baby beetroot, drained and halved or quartered
3 spring onions, finely sliced
pistachios or slivered almonds
a big handful of mint leaves, chopped
100g feta, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Tip the onions, pumpkin and sweet potato into a big bowl and pour over 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season well and toss together. Spread over a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until cooked. If browning too quickly then cover with some foil. Set aside to cool.
In a heatproof bowl, place the couscous. Add the boiling water, remaining olive oil, salt and lemon zest. Stir and cover bowl with some plastic cling wrap and leave to steam for about 5 – 10 minutes. Then take off the wrap and use a fork to break up any lumps and fluff up the couscous. Tip over the lemon juice and toss and leave to cool.
Add the roasted vegetables, halved baby beetroots, capsicum, baby spinach and spring onions and season to taste. Right before serving add the crumbled feta, chopped mint and nuts.