Oh boy, this goes in the “one of my favorites” column – one hundred percent! Long long ago in a faraway land, there was a new pasta carry out place in Seattle called “Pasta and Company”. Soon after it’s inception, the owner Marcella offered a cooking class and I was excited to be there since I loved the salads and pastas they produced. And this combination blew me away.
I adopted it, changed a few things, figured out how to make it for a large, large group and it still rotates through my list of summer dishes I make quite frequently. And I always make enough of this so we can enjoy it a few days after all the guests have left – it’s the perfect leftover, or “Previously Served Food” as we call it in my house.
Whole wheat couscous, black lentils and veggies make this healthful in my world. And the vegetables – peppers and cucumbers – remain crunchy and the dressing stays fresh and yummy. Take this to any barbeque or potluck this summer and you’ll be a star. Another bonus? This holds up at room temperature if it is part of a buffet outdoors.
Whole Wheat Couscous and Lentil Salad
Serves 12 for a small group at home or up to 20 on a larger buffet with more choices
(This seems like a lot, but it is the correct amount!)
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 ½ Tbsp minced fresh garlic
- 3 Tbsp fresh finely chopped oregano or 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- ½ Tbsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. grainy mustard (I use the Maille brand)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup black Beluga lentils or french green lentils
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 cups water to cover lentils
Additional Ingredients (to stir in at the end)
- 1 large English cucumber, unpeeled and diced fine
- 1 orange or red pepper, seeded and chopped fine
- ⅓ cup fresh chopped mint
Ingredients To Garnish
- 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 5 oz crumbled Feta, chopped
- Black cracked pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
In a large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients – set aside.
Put water and oil in 3-quart saucepan over high heat and when it boils add the couscous, lower heat and cover – cook on low for five minutes. Remove the pan and uncover, use fork to eliminate clumps.
Add all the couscous to the dressing and let the dressed couscous cool.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils uncovered with salted water and let them simmer until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain well, rinse with cold water until the water runs clear and drain well again. When they cool off add the lentils to the couscous and dressing. Refrigerate if not eating right away.
Right before serving (or up to an hour prior) stir in the vegetables and herbs to coat them. Garnish as you desire (see my list of garnishes I use) and eat up!