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Chunky Greek Couscous Salad

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These past few weeks I’ve been taking a wonderfully relaxing prenatal yoga class at The Yoga Centre Waterford. There are only six women in the class including the instructor. I leave smelling like incense and feeling like I am actually going to be able to push this child out when the time comes. It’s also been helping me with some of the more annoying aches and pains that come along with pregnancy. And let’s face it, it’s nice to go out once a week and chat with some other ladies. Pat’s great, but I need some girlie time.

The class leaves me feeling so energized. It’s not strenuous like a normal yoga session would be. It focuses much more on posture, meditation and deep breathing technique. Our instructor has two grown children so it’s nice to hear what she has to say about what works and what doesn’t during labour.

The class runs until 7:30 pm, so we usually leave dinner until after. Pat goes for a long run while I’m there, so we’re always starving and craving something fresh with lots of veggies and protein for dinner.

This couscous salad is one of my favourites. It would be even better with quinoa (I freaking love quinoa), chickpeas, kidney beans or Israeli couscous, but I’m still trying to  find my way around Irish grocery stores. I saw a box of regular couscous and grabbed it without thinking twice.

Also great about this salad is that you can prepare and mix the veggies, cheese and dressing one or even two days before you serve. The longer it marinates, the better it tastes.

I’ll usually serve a grilled piece of chicken or fish with a couscous salad, but I had some pork loin chops in the freezer. I thawed them out and made a light marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, sliced an onion over them and left them in the fridge for a few hours before searing them off, onions and all. I have to say, the pork was so tender and very flavourful – a good choice if you’re having a Greek-style salad. Grill the pork on the barbeque, if you have one. It will taste even nicer with a bit of char.

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Chunky Greek Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

1 large red bell pepper

1/2 English cucumber

1 small red onion

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 cup feta cheese (goat, if you can get it)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp oregano

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and Pepper

2 heaping cups cooked, cooled couscous

Directions:

  • Wash, seed and chop the bell pepper and cucumber. A rough chop is fine, but make sure they are all chopped into roughly the same size. *I usually take an extra step with the bell pepper and remove the white membrane on the inside of the pepper. Just slide a sharp knife directly under the membrane and slice it off. You don’t have to do this, but when eating peppers raw it takes away the bitterness you’ll sometimes taste.
  • Wash the cherry tomatoes and slice them in half. Peel and chop the red onion into small chunks. Mix all veg together in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, add the finely crushed/chopped garlic clove, red wine vinegar and oregano and whisk together. In a slow drizzle, add the olive oil while whisking constantly. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to your taste, and pour directly over the vegetables (the dressing may taste overwhelmingly of olive oil and the vinegar should taste strong – once you add the bland couscous everything will even out).
  • Crumble the feta cheese over the vegetables and mix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to marinate for several hours or overnight.
  • A few hours before serving, pour some boiling water over dry couscous in a mixing bowl (I do 250 grams of dry couscous and 400 ml of boiling water). Cover the bowl immediately with plastic wrap and leave for ten minutes before fluffing the couscous with a fork and leaving to cool.
  • When the couscous is completely cool, mix it in with the marinated feta and vegetables. Check for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if necessary. Garnish with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley or a handful of baby rocket (ours came fresh from the garden – it was delish!).
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