Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shrimp and Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

I like to cook yummy and healthy things.  Something we came up with years ag when I was studying for my engineering exam (think Bar exam, but 4 years after you graduate), was that on Sundays, I'd cook a big batch of "something" that would last 3-4 nights.  Will can't cook well, cooking food every night was just too time comsuming, and with my funky dietary needs, "winging it" really doesn't work well on a regular basis.  Six years later, and this is pretty much how we like to eat.  Its easy and it guarantees that I have food I can eat during the week.  Fortunately, we both like leftovers too, or else this way of cooking would never work.  I try to cook seasonally, but that doesn't always work out.  And I rarely cook anything "American" - we like mostly asian and mediterranean flavors. Most of my recipes come from Cooking Light, with some tweaks.  Nutritional requirements are a 2:1 carb/protein ratio and that the protein is either fish or poultry.  When I cook something I particularly like, I'll post it here to share.

Shrimp and Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
I have a ton of basil that I inexplicably bought last week and didn't use, plus since its getting warm, I wanted a bright summery salad to eat for the week.  I took a chicken/basil/couscous salad recipe and tweaked it a bit.  I like this because there's minimila cooking, which is great when things are warm.


14 oz can chicken broth
16 oz medium size shrimp (pre-cooked and frozen.
4 oz whole wheat israeli couscous
8 oz whole wheat normal (small) couscous
(this is about 2 cups of dry couscous - you can use all small couscous, I just like the idea of the 2 kinds mixed together)
water to bring total liquid volume up to 2 1/4 cups
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
~1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sliced green onions
1 red bell pepper (chopped)


Bring broth/water and 1 finely chopped garlic clove to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add add couscous to broth; stir well. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. Place couscous in a large bowl; cool completely. Fluff with a fork.

Prep Vinaigrette by mixing 1 clove of garlic, basil through pepper in a separate bowl and let it stand ~15 or so for flavors to combine (I just let it sit for as long as it took the couscous to cool down in the freezer).

Thaw frozen shrimp in a collander under cool water.

Combine couscous, green onions, red pepper, shrimp, and vinaigrette in large dish.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.  (or 15 minutes because you're hungry and can't wait any longer like I did).

  • This is pretty heavy on the garlic, so you may want to reduce it by one clove.  I like garlic, so this doesn't bother me a bit.
  • The second night, I thought the lemon disappeared a bit, so I whipped up more vinaigrette and mixed it in the remaining salad.
  • I was supposed to add garbanzo beans to this and totally forgot, so this probabaly doesn't have quite as much protein as I needed.  Ooops.
  • This is VERY PRETTY when its fresh and the green onion / basil are green.  As it sits in the fridge, the greens darken a bit but are still tasty.  This would be a good potluck / picnic dish since its pretty quick to prepare and can hang out for several hours without threat of food poisoning.

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